From puberty, childbirth, and menopause, women’s bodies go through a lot of change during the course of their lives. It’s hard to know what’s normal and what’s a sign of serious health problems. Menopause symptoms that seem abnormal could be ordinary while others could be the body’s manifestation of something more. Understanding menopause symptoms could help catch health concerns early on.
Menopause is considered the absence of a period for one year. Menopause symptoms include:
- Urinary incontinence: Weakness in the pelvic floor causes uncontrolled urination during stress or physical movement
- Vaginal dryness: Caused by the changing nature of collagen in vaginal walls
- Loss of sex drive: Associated with physical changes combined with hormones changes
- Vaginal laxity: Women and their partners report a “looseness” in the vaginal area following menopause
Vaginal bleeding after menopause, one year without a period, needs to be checked out by a doctor. It could be a warning sign of cervical cancer.
There are options for treatment of menopause symptoms, including:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy: Although it may be effective for some women, there is a risk of blood clots, heart conditions, and breast cancer
- Vaginal Rejuvenation: FemiLift is a safer alternative for treating menopause symptoms
Pre-menopause vs. Perimenopause Symptoms
The phrase “pre-menopause” is sometimes used to describe perimenopause but these are two separate stages of the menopausal journey. Pre-menopause occurs in women in their late 30s to early 40s. Periods will be business as usual, occurring every month. Estrogen and progesterone levels will start to shift but not enough to grab your attention.
Perimenopause is the stage right before menopause. Estrogen levels drop low enough to start affecting the body. Some women will experience:
- Sporadic periods: For most women, periods will occur every two to five months. Some women will have regular periods, while this is not abnormal it is unusual
- Vaginal dryness: It is safe and recommended to use a lubricant during sexual activity
- Mood changes: Hormone levels change rapidly while the reproductive system shuts down, inevitably affecting emotions
- Physical changes: Breasts appear to have shrunk while the hair may start to thin out, and skin loses its moisture
- Trouble sleeping: Insomnia and night sweats are uncomfortable but expected
Even though these symptoms are normal, it’s still important to schedule regular doctor visits during perimenopause. Preventative care like a colonoscopy, mammography, and Pap smear is recommended.
Natural Ways to Reduce Mood Swings
Although mood swings are a natural part of menopause, they are ways to lessen the effects of irritability naturally. To keep your emotional reactions on an even keel, try to incorporate these ideas into your lifestyle:
Stay at a healthy weight,
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar and refined food,
- Exercise regularly
- Eat fruits and Vegetables
- Don’t skip meals
- Stay hydrated
- Eat foods with calcium and protein
How to Stop Night Sweats
If you are one of the millions of women enduring hot flashes from menopause this summer, you know that night sweats can be a brutal side effect as your health changes during this time. Night sweats are brought on by surgical removal of the ovaries via hysterectomy, or from natural aging because your body stops producing estrogen.
But what can you do to get through these hot summer nights? There are a few changes you can make that will provide some relief, allow you to get some rest, and change your soaked sheets less.
- Cut back on alcohol, as it can contribute to excess sweating
- Change your diet, cutting back on sugar, caffeine and processed or spicy foods
- Exercise four to five times a week, even if it’s just taking a walk around the block
- Wear sunscreen whenever outside to protect from sunburn and other sun damage
- Take vitamins and supplements recommended by your doctor
- Stop smoking
Most night sweats are not serious, and shouldn’t cause too much concern. But if they last more than a week, get checked by a doctor. While it doesn’t matter how ice-cold you’ve cranked the A/C, your body will still produce night sweats while you go through menopause. The silver lining? They will subside.
Contact NVSCC for Postmenopausal Care
Menopause doesn’t have to mean the end of your sex life and confidence. Contact Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care today if you’ve received an abnormal Pap smear or to find out how our FemiLift procedure can improve life after menopause.