Menopause: Symptoms & Treatment Options

Menopause means that you haven’t had your period for 12 months while you’re not pregnant or ill. It occurs because the levels of female hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, naturally decrease as you get older. Your fallopian tubes stop releasing eggs, you no longer have your period, and you can’t get pregnant. For most women, menopause starts somewhere around their 40s or 50s. It is possible that you start noticing changes months or years before menopause begins.

It is possible that you get hot flashes or that your periods become irregular. We call this period perimenopause. You probably won’t know exactly when menopause starts. All you can do is pay attention to how you feel and watch out for changes. Remember that the symptoms can vary greatly from woman to woman, and some women don’t get any symptoms at all

Irregular Periods
This is the classic sign that menopause is coming. Your periods may be more or less frequent, heavier or lighter, or longer or shorter than before. When you enter perimenopause, it is difficult to predict when and if your next period will come. It is also more difficult to estimate how long your periods will last and whether they will be heavy or light. At this stage, it’s harder to get pregnant, but as long as you’re still menstruating, it’s still possible. Some chemotherapy medicine used to treat cancer can also cause irregular menstrual periods. Any bleeding after menopause, even if only a few drops (‘spotting’), is not normal. In that case, you should consult your doctor.

Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
Hot flashes can suddenly make you feel hot or very hot for no apparent reason. Your skin can turn red, and your heart can beat faster. And then suddenly you can get cold again. Night sweats are hot flashes during sleep. They can be so intense they wake you up. Like so many symptoms of menopause, hot flashes and night sweats can vary enormously from woman to woman. They can last from 1 to 5 minutes and can be mild or severe. You can get several every hour, or only once a week, or never. For some women, these symptoms last for years or decades after their periods have stopped, up to the period we call postmenopause. Talk to your doctor if you suffer from hot flashes that have nothing to do with menopause. There are also medical conditions that can cause these and medications can also play a role.

Have trouble sleeping and/ or are you forgetting things more and more often? You might be in menopause. Continue reading on the next page and discover more symptoms of menopause