Menopause Symptoms

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Menopause symptoms begin at about the time that menopause starts, calculated following an uninterrupted 12-month time interval when a woman displays no signs of a menstruation. In general terms and for American women, this is at age 51.

However, a woman may also display menopause-like symptoms if she is diagnosed as perimenopausal, pre-menopausal or early menopausal. Women who have been established to be early menopausal may (in rare cases) display menopause type symptoms as early as their mid-20s.

In all cases, menopause symptoms are directly related to decreased estrogen levels and hormone imbalance.

There are more menopause symptoms than one might suspect. Fortunately, not all women display all symptoms all the time. Unfortunately, once menopause symptoms start they may persist for ten years or longer.

Among the most noted symptoms are:

Hot Flashes (hot flushes) – One of the very most common menopause symptom complaints are hot flashes. Milder hot flashes are frequently referred to as hot flushes. Hot flashes can be very intense and last for upward to 20 minutes. In extreme cases a woman may experience a hot flash, hourly.

Hot flashes have been described as extreme internal heat that rises quickly and then levels off at various degrees of discomfort. The areas of the body most affected are the face, neck, and chest area but any part of the body may be too warm during a hot flash. A woman may experience an escalating severity of hot flashes as she ages due to continuing reduced estrogen levels and / or hormone imbalance.

Night Sweats (warm flushes, cold flushes) – Night sweats are the evil twin of hot flashes. Many women are awakened with hot flashes during menopause. The areas of the body affected are nearly identical to those associated with hot flashes. Warm flushes are thought to be a milder form of night sweats. During a night sweat episode a woman may kick off the covers in an attempt to get cool quickly. Following the night sweat episode a woman may experience a cold or cool flush nearly as severe as the previous night sweat episode. In this instance, all of the bed covers may not (at least initially) appear to be enough to get warm. These cold flushes are just part of the night sweat cycle and one of the reasons why women who experience night sweats complain of sleep deprivation. In severe cases, women experiencing night sweats may never actually go into REM sleep and so, never get a restful night's sleep. In this way, night sweats can lead to more concern health issues including depression, mental fatigue, mood swings, irritability, and weakened immunity to disease.

Mood Swings – Mood swings like the other menopause symptoms noted previously, are among the more common symptoms associated with menopause. Not a lot is known about mood swings as they vary by the individual, in intensity and frequency. Like other symptoms, mood swings have a connection with reduced estrogen levels and imbalanced hormones. Mood swings can be problematic as they can be disrupted to personal and professional relationships. From a professional standpoint, mood suppressing drugs may affect job performance. Stress and other outside catalysts have been noted to affect mood swings.

Cravings – Food cravings have been noted as one of the very most common menopause symptoms. During menopause, a heightened awareness of favorite or preferred foods and beverages is frequently noted. While these foods may have been attractive prior to menopause, menopausal women often engage in binge consumption of these foods and beverage favorites. Previous will-power, discretion, and moderation seem to have gone out the window with the excess consumption of chocolates, carbohydrates laden pasta, wine, beer, pizza, pickles, etc. Cravings for typical comfort foods are also common. A Thanksgiving Dinner might be considered by many to be the ultimate comfort food indulgence.

Menopause Belly Fat Weight Gain – Menopause belly fat weight gain is one of the more common menopause symptoms. Prior to menopause, most women are concerned with weight gain in the hips, thighs, and buttocks, especially following pregnancy. However and following menopause, the weight gain problem area shifts to the waist. Menopause belly fat gain gain is closely associated with reduced estrogen levels and hormone imbalance. Men typically gain weight above the hips. Excessive weight gain above the hips puts excess strain on all body organs, especially the heart. Heart and artery disease are the number killers of American males. Menopausal women who gain weight above the hips are put at the same risk levels as their male counterparts. Older women are at the same risk of heart and advanced coronary artery disease as men.

Osteoporosis and Bone Loss – Osteoporosis and bone loss are among the most insidious of menopause symptoms. Osteoporosis causes bone loss, frailty and fragility. Those individuals diagnosed with osteoporosis are at elevated risk of bone breakage. Even large bones (like the hip) are easily broken with a simple fall. One out of three individuals older than 65 experience falls. Osteoporosis and bone loss can be offset (to a degree) with the implementation and / or augmentation of specific drugs, vitamins and minerals, as well as limited load-bearing exercises.

Additional Symptoms – In addition to the previously noted symptoms, the following menopause symptoms should also be noted: Irregular periods, loss of or reduced libido, vaginal dryness, fatigue, hair loss (or gain), sleep disorders, difficulty concentrating, memory loss or lapses, dizziness, incontinence, bloating, increased allergy sensitivity, brittle or easily broken fingernails, changes in body odor, racing heart beat, depression, anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, breast tendness, migraines, aching joints, burning sensation in mouth or tongue or bad taste in the mouth, electric shocks, digestive irregularities, gum problems, bleeding gums, muscle tensions, itchy skin, and tingling extemities.

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Source by Loren Angelo E Potts

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