As you may already know, women’s bodies undergo two major stages throughout their lives. The first comes from the hand of menstruation, that fertile period in which cycles occur every 28-35 days leading to menstruation. The second comes with menopause, a moment something feared by women since it gives rise to a stage of life somewhat different from the rest.
There are many symptoms, signals or signs that determine the arrival of this vital phase in the female body. However, how do you know if you are entering menopause? Sometimes certain doubts may arise, but you must be very calm and pay very good attention to what your body is telling you. Do you want to know more? In Diario Femenino, we tell you what symptoms you are going to have when you reach menopause, as well as the phases of it. Let’s see it!
As we said, menopause is a stage of life that every woman experiences, sooner or later depending on the lifestyle she leads and how she has travelled to reach it. It is characterized mainly because menstruation and the fertile period come to an end and, therefore, some say that it is the approach to old age in women.
It usually occurs between 48 and 54 years, everything will depend on several factors since not all women occur at the same age. Why does menopause happen? Very simple, the decrease in the production of female hormones, estrogens and progesterone causes the ovarian function to begin to lose. In addition, menopause is usually differentiated into different stages, which are the following:
Premenopause: the first of the stages is, without a doubt, the one that can scare the most. The symptoms arrive suddenly, without expecting them, although the most common is the variation of menstruation. It can last up to 5 years, and it is due to the variations in estrogens that we mentioned a few lines above.
Perimenopause: This stage occurs from 12 months before menopause to 12 months after, eventually leading to postmenopause.
Menopause: This phase begins just when the last menstruation occurs in the body of woman. How to know that it is indeed the last one? Because, after waiting about 4 or 6 months, it has not reappeared.
Postmenopause: several years after menopause this phase begins, and it is possible that the symptoms of premenopause become much more frequent, repeated and even more intense.
Are you entering menopause? Symptoms to clear up your doubts
The first of the symptoms, the most indicative of all, is the progressive change in menstruation. Before it came to you every month, more or less regularly, but now it seems that it takes much longer (or much less) than usual, the bleeding is scarcer or more abundant, you can have bleeding between periods or spend two months without it appearing.
The main reason this happens is that the drop in estrogen and progesterone that we talked about earlier is already taking place, and the cycles are becoming much more irregular, although, for the moment, they do not disappear completely. If you have any questions or changes in your menstruation, our recommendation is that you go to the doctor as soon as possible.
Heat or hot flashes
During the premenopausal stage, the first hot flashes begin to appear, those that you have surely heard more than once. This sudden and intense sensation that spreads to the face and the body in general usually lasts a few minutes, between 3 and 10, and usually appears several times in the same day, although there are women who experience them very rarely (two or three times a week).
In addition to hot flashes or hot flashes, you must take good care of your skin. Red spots may start to appear on your body, or you may even notice that your face and neck are redder than usual. Keep in mind that these hot flashes also appear at night, called night sweats, which can even wake you up in the middle of the night.
Sudden changes in hormones can take a toll on your mood. During premenopause and near menopause you will feel a state of irritability, anxiety, stress, anger or you may find yourself more nervous than usual. Keep calm! They are completely normal changes, think that your body is preparing to face a new stage of life that can be as happy as the previous ones. However, it may take a while to get used to them.
The night sweats that we mentioned before, those that can even wake you up in the middle of the night, can promote the onset of insomnia. You will sleep a little less than you did in previous years and, especially at the beginning of this new phase of your life, you will feel somewhat more tired and exhausted. Plus, you probably start waking up in the morning much earlier than you used to. Look at it on the bright side: you can get a lot more out of the day, right?
Changes in the vagina
When your body has to face a large decrease in collagen, vaginal dryness and, in general, the whole body can appear. You will notice the skin is a little drier, the nails will break more easily, and your vagina will be much less elastic than usual. This could be noticed, especially, when you have sex.
Another symptom that usually appears is urine leakage due to urinary incontinence. Losing bladder control is quite common in this new stage you are going through, but don’t worry! Everything has a solution and surely your doctor knows how to give you the best remedy.
The protection that female hormones exert on the bones could be weakened by their disappearance or changes. And, consequently, the pain or weakness of the bones could lead to suffering from osteoporosis. A remedy? Calcium and vitamin D may help you make your bones much stronger and help you in the process.
Changes in the body
You may notice how your waist widens, you gain weight more easily and you could lose muscle mass. In addition, the change in hormone levels could cause you to experience changes in your memory, that is, it may be difficult for you to remember all the details and you could even suffer from headaches much more frequently than usual. In any case, keep in mind that all these symptoms have an easy and quick solution: go to the doctor or gynaecologist. Ideally, he/she should be the one who takes your specific case, who observes what symptoms you have and how you can solve them in the way that best suits your needs. In addition, you should bear in mind that menopause can appear prematurely (early menopause) due to causes such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, stress or your family history.