Telltale Symptoms of Menopause

Are you nervously awaiting menopause? Wondering if your symptoms mean you’ve entered this transitional time? Are you sure you’re aware of the telltale symptoms?

Menopause is a natural process that happens when your female hormone levels decline and you’re no longer able to get pregnant. The average age of onset is 51, but symptoms often begin before menopause, and last several years longer.

The timing of menopause is different for every woman, so it’s not always easy to know if your symptoms are due to perimenopause, menopause, or something else. At OB/GYN Specialists in Denton, Texas, Daniel McDonald, MD, Marc Wilson, MD, and our team partner with women to ensure they’re enjoying their best health at every age — and menopause is no exception.

Perimenopause vs. menopause

Your estrogen and progesterone levels begin dropping in your 30s. Once you reach your 40s, your hormone levels may have fallen so low that you start experiencing some of the characteristic symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes or mood swings.

But as long as you continue having menstrual periods (even if they’re irregular), you haven’t entered menopause. Perimenopause is the period of time before menopause begins, but you’re starting to notice symptoms of hormonal imbalance.

Most women enter perimenopause in their 40s. It can last as little as a few months or as long as 10 years, but most women are in perimenopause for about four years.

Once it’s been a full year since your last menstrual period, you enter menopause. Your hormone levels continue to decline until hormones stabilize several years into menopause and your symptoms fade.

Common symptoms of menopause

Fluctuating hormone levels are to blame for most menopausal symptoms, so it’s very possible that you experience menopause symptoms during perimenopause too. Many women with symptoms in perimenopause find that they continue or get worse after menopause begins.

Some of the most common symptoms include ... 

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are possibly the best-known symptom of perimenopause and menopause. Hormonal changes can trigger sudden, intense episodes that flush your face, neck, and chest and leave you dripping with sweat. When hot flashes happen at night, they’re called night sweats.

Mood swings

Hormonal imbalance in menopause can cause mood swings that leave you angry or irritable for seemingly no reason. Coupled with other symptoms like weight gain and depression, mood swings can be particularly difficult to manage during menopause.

Fatigue

Fatigue is a common complaint among women going through menopause. Along with disruptive night sweats, hormonal changes can cause chronic fatigue, which may be made worse by insomnia and other sleep problems.

Changes in your sex life

Hormonal fluctuation can also impact your sex life. Many women experience vaginal dryness, which may lead to pain with sexual intercourse. Another common symptom of menopause is low sex drive or disinterest in sex.

While these are some of the most common symptoms, they’re not the only ways menopause can affect your life. Some women experience other physical changes like headaches, tender breasts, dry skin, thinning hair, and weight gain.

After menopause, lingering health issues can include lower bone density, stiff joints, and increased urinary tract infections (UTIs). Keeping up with your regular well-woman visits ensures you’re getting the care you need as you navigate life’s changes.

Many women find that their symptoms are short-lived or manageable with lifestyle adjustments, but that’s not always the case. If your quality of life is severely affected, Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson offer hormone optimization therapy to keep your most bothersome symptoms at bay.

Learn how hormone therapy could help you get through the toughest seasons of perimenopause and menopause. Contact us online or on the phone to schedule a consultation at OB/GYN Specialists.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Types of Genetic Testing Are Available?

Prenatal genetic testing can detect genetic disorders in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. These tests are optional, and if you’re pregnant, it’s important to learn what genetic testing can do and when to consider it.

6 Things That Make Your Pregnancy Risky

Pregnancy is a natural process. As a woman, your body is uniquely equipped for pregnancy and birth — but if complications develop, you or your baby might be at risk. Learn more about high-risk pregnancy, and find out if yours could be high risk too.

What Makes Endometriosis So Painful?

Are you living with chronic pelvic pain? Endometriosis may be to blame. It’s a common condition that causes inflammation, pelvic pain, and pain with intercourse, but what is it about endometriosis that makes it so painful? Take a moment to find out.

How Often Do I Need to See My Gynecologist?

Regular gynecologist appointments help you enjoy your best health throughout life, because your gynecologist specializes in women’s health. Find out why preventive care is important and how often you should go to the gynecologist.

5 Ways to Manage Menopausal Night Sweats

Menopausal hot flashes are bothersome during the day. But when they wake you up at night, they can lead to poor-quality sleep and even insomnia. Get tips for managing night sweats here, from cooling down your bedroom to trying hormonal optimization.