A Guide to Menopause: Symptoms, Signs and Treatments
Known as ‘the change’, all women at some point in their life will go experience menopause. While this is a natural process, some menopausal changes can bring anxiety and distress. Whether you are in the early stages of menopause or have been dealing with it for years, this article covers the symptoms, signs and treatments to take to help relieve menopause symptoms.
What are the symptoms of the menopause?
For most women, the duration and severity of these symptoms vary from woman to woman. With an estimated 6,000 US women reaching menopause every day, some women will experience additional symptoms for some time before and after their period's end. The most common symptoms can include:
• Hot flashes
• Vaginal dryness
• Mood changes
• Reduced libido
• Night sweats
• Difficulty sleeping
Not all women will experience each of these symptoms, some are more common than others and they might only be mild symptoms, or they might be quite severe. And while some women found the symptoms easy to deal with, others experienced difficulty.
To help deal with the physical and emotional changes that menopause can cause, a few simple changes to your lifestyle may help combat these symptoms. Whether you decide to stop smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle or keep a fan by the bed or on your desk at work, these small changes can play a major role in how you handle the new changes.
"To help deal with the physical and emotional changes that menopause can cause, a few simple changes to your lifestyle may help combat these symptoms."
What are the stages of menopause?Menopause is not an immediate condition that happens to the body as it can be defined in three stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
PerimenopauseNot known to most women, perimenopause can cause the menstrual cycle to become irregular, eventually slowing down the frequency of periods a woman has. As a woman cycle does not fully stop at this stage, most are unaware that they are experiencing the first stages of menopause. Usually affecting women in their 40s, the length of this stage varies from person to person but some common symptoms of menopause can be experienced such as hot flashes. For a small percentage, getting pregnant is still a possibility at this stage.
MenopauseInfluenced by hormonal changes, this stage signals the end of the menstrual cycle. Occurring in most women who are in their early 50s, the lack of the body’s production of estrogen and the store eggs in the ovary decreases diminishes the chances of conceiving and can affect various aspects of the body.
PostmenopauseStarting after one year of your last menstrual cycle, you may begin to regain your energy, but you may also be at a higher risk for certain conditions. Factors such as medication and lifestyle changes can help reduce some of the conditions associated with menopause. Even if you are in this stage, getting regular check-ups and preventative screening exams are still important to do.
Treating menopauseMenopause usually requires no medical treatment; instead, treatment options focus on relieving symptoms, managing chronic conditions and preventing and symptoms that may occur. Treatment may include:
Hormone therapy- Depending on your personal and family medical history, having estrogen therapy may be an effective treatment option in reducing certain menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. While long-term use of hormone therapy may have breast and cardiovascular risks, starting hormones around the time of menopause has shown benefits for some women.
Vaginal estrogen- to help relieve vaginal dryness, estrogen can be administered directly to the vaginal area using a cream, tablet or ring. This treatment option releases small amounts of estrogen which gets absorbed the vaginal tissues, aiding in the relief of dryness and reducing discomfort. A great alternative to help relieve vaginal discomfort is K-Y Jelly Personal Lubricant. As a water-based lubricant, K-Y Jelly Personal Lubricant this product is great in easing the discomfort of vaginal dryness that may occur due to menopausal symptoms.
While treatment options can provide relief, you may still experience a couple of symptoms for a short period of time as your body adjusts to the new changes. If symptoms still persist, consider seeing your doctor for further consultation.