10 Telltale Symptoms of Menopause

10 Telltale Symptoms of Menopause

You officially reach menopause when you go one full year without your period. While menopause has a firm start date, the change of life doesn’t happen all at once.

In fact, the transition to menopause ― known as perimenopause ― takes months to years. Many of the symptoms women associate with menopause occur during this transitional phase.

Though menopause symptoms vary in type and severity, our women’s health expert, Dr. Lena Speck Hopkins, knows how they may affect many aspects of a woman’s life. But there’s no need to simply suffer through the symptoms.

Here, we want to share with you some of the telltale symptoms of menopause so we can help you feel better now. 

1. Changes in menstrual cycle

Menopause marks the end of your fertility and when your ovaries stop ovulating. 

Changes in your menstrual cycle may be one of the first symptoms you notice when starting the transition to menopause. Your periods may be shorter or longer than usual, or you may skip a month or two. 

2. Vaginal discomfort

In the years leading up to menopause, production of estrogen and progesterone — the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle — declines. Though essential for reproduction, these hormones also affect the health and function of your vaginal tissue.

As your hormone levels decrease, your vaginal tissue thins and loses moisture, causing vaginal dryness and discomfort. 

3. Decreasing sex drive

The changes to your vaginal tissue may cause pain during sex, which may lower your sex drive. The hormonal changes may also make you less interested in sex or make it harder for you to reach orgasm. 

4. Hot flashes

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause. During a hot flash, you develop a sudden warming sensation that runs from your chest to your face. These hot sensations may last a few seconds or several minutes. 

5. Difficulty falling or staying asleep

Are you having a harder time falling asleep than you used to? Or, maybe you wake up too early and can’t get back to sleep. Your fluctuating estrogen levels may affect your sleep cycle, causing these sleep problems. 

6. Shifting mood

Many women experience mood changes as they transition into menopause. They feel more irritable or emotional. If you find yourself nitpicking at every minor annoyance, it may be a sign of menopause. 

7. Unexpected weight gain

Your changing hormone levels may also make it harder to maintain your weight. You may find the number on the scale creeping up, even though your diet and exercise routine hasn’t changed. 

8. Having to pee more

Vaginal health also affects bladder health and urinary control. If you find yourself rushing to the bathroom because of an urgent need to pee, then it may be related to your hormonal changes. 

Losing small amounts of urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh are also possible signs of vaginal changes related to menopause. 

9. More aches and pain

Many women seem to develop many more muscle aches, joint pain, and headaches during menopause. Though it’s not clear whether these aches and pains are due to hormonal changes or the aging process, your hot flashes, insomnia, and weight changes may be contributing factors.

10. Dry skin and thin hair

Changing hormone levels also affect the health of your skin and hair. You may find that your normal skin moisturizer no longer keeps your skin smooth and supple. Your shifting hormones also affect hair growth, and you may find more hair on your face and less on your scalp. 

Whatever symptoms you have, we can help. Dr. Speck Hopkins offers many treatment options to address a wide range of menopause symptoms. We can’t stop the change of life, but we can stop the symptoms from interfering with your active lifestyle.

For expert care of your menopause, call our office in Harlingen, Texas, today. 

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