What is menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her period stops. It is a normal change in a woman’s body. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row (and there are no other causes, such as pregnancy or illness, for this change). Menopause is sometimes called, “the change of life.” Leading up to menopause, a woman’s body slowly makes less and less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This change often happens between the ages of 45 and 55 years old.
As you near menopause, you may have symptoms from the changes your body is making. Many women wonder if these changes are normal, and many are confused about how to treat their symptoms. You will feel better by learning all you can about menopause and talking with your doctor about your health and your symptoms. If your symptoms are causing you discomfort or concern, your doctor can teach you about treatment options and help you to make wise treatment choices.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Menopause affects every woman differently. Your only symptom may be your period stopping. You may have other symptoms, too. Many symptoms at this time of life are because of you getting older. But some are due to menopause. Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Change in pattern of periods (can be shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, more or less time between periods)
- Hot flashes (sometimes called hot flushes), night sweats (sometimes followed by a chill)
- Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings, feeling crabby, crying spells (probably because of lack of sleep)
- Trouble focusing, feeling mixed-up or confused
- Hair loss or thinning on your head, more hair growth on your face