A Period of Change: Menopause Symptoms

When a woman reaches her mid thirties, she may begin to experience pre-menopause symptoms which alert her to the changes coming in her body. If a woman has had a hysterectomy or has gone through cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, she may begin to experience these menopause symptoms sooner than when she reaches her thirties. If that is the case, doctors can perform blood tests and determine what types of therapy might be beneficial to her to stop some of the more debilitating symptoms that she may experience.

Types of Changes

Menopause symptoms are caused by a decreasing amount of estrogen and progesterone levels in the woman's body. This change usually starts to occur when a woman in the USA reaches her mid to late thirties. In other countries, especially third world countries, this age might be much sooner due to nutritional limitations and doctor's care.

The most debilitating menopausal symptoms are hot flashes, sleeping disorders, and mood swings. Hot flashes can overtake the woman at any point during the day or night, which gives her immediate sweating, red skin, and an incredibly hot feeling throughout her body. This can also cause sleeping disturbances, since the hot flash usually wakes her up in the night due to the extreme heat in her body. Sleeping disorders, where the woman is unable to go to sleep or awaken early and not being able to go back to sleep anymore. These sleeping disorders can lead to a feeling of exhaustion overall, including muscle fatigue.

This muscle fatigue and exhaustion can lead to depression and anxiety issues which will also require treatment. Hormonal changes can also lead to depression and anxiety issues that need to be treated or modified through lifestyle changes and/or hormone treatments to balance out the changes. Other menopause symptoms are a lighter or irregular period, although sometimes the period will change to a heavier flow than ever before. In addition, there can be vaginal dryness that can affect sexual enjoyment and drive, and a decrease in fertility. Loss of bladder control is another symptom of menopause, although it is rarer, in addition to a dry skin problem, especially around the eyes and mouth.

Many times these menopausal symptoms will last for four to eight years before true menopause is achieved, when a year has passed since the last menstrual period. Although the menopause symptoms can start in the mid to late thirties, it is more common for them to start in the woman's forties and to achieve menopause by the time she is in her early fifties.