There’s no avoiding it. All women will reach the end of their childbearing years when they transition to menopause. For many women, this transition occurs naturally, while others may get there a little sooner because of underlying health issues or following a hysterectomy.
Our team of experienced gynecologists at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group offer comprehensive and compassionate support for women entering their post-menopausal years.
We can address bothersome symptoms of menopause with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and give you resources you need to stay healthy.
Understanding the menopause transition
Menopause is the time when your periods stop for good, and you can no longer bear children. To be considered in menopause, you must not have a period for 12 consecutive months or longer.
The transition to menopause can begin up to 10 years before your periods end. This phase is known as perimenopause, and it’s a time when many women begin to notice unusual changes in their body and health.
These changes occur because the body slows down its production of reproductive hormones, such as estrogen and progestin. Because these hormones play a role in many functions of your body, having lesser amounts can cause a variety of symptoms that affect your physical, emotional, and mental health.
8 telltale signs you’re entering menopause
All women experience menopause differently. Some may transition with minimal disruption to their life, while others may have symptoms so severe that they seek medical help to improve their quality of life.
These menopause symptoms can include:
1. Irregular periods
Irregular periods or bleeding between periods is a common sign of menopause. Before women realize what’s actually happening, many worry that they’re pregnant when their periods no longer appear to be on schedule.
You may notice you bleed more or less than usual. Some women have very heavy periods, while others just have spotting most months. Your periods may also be shorter or last longer than usual when you're nearing menopause.
2. Irritability and mood swings
Much like the symptoms you feel in the days before your period related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause can also cause irritability and moodiness.
You may notice changes in your mood for no specific reason. These changes can come on suddenly and be difficult to control.
3. Vaginal dryness
The loss of estrogen can cause the loss of your natural lubrication ability. Less lubrication can result in vaginal dryness, which can cause persistent itching, burning, and pain during sex.
You may also experience vaginal atrophy, a condition in which vaginal tissues thin and shrink.
4. Changes in libido
Lower levels of reproductive hormones may change your desire for sex. Your loss of interest in sex, combined with increased vaginal dryness, may trigger conflicts in your relationships and ultimately affect your self-esteem.
5. Hot flashes
The hormones you lose during perimenopause also play a role in the regulation of your body temperature. As your hormone levels fluctuate, you may experience hot flashes.
Hot flashes describe a sudden increase in body temperature where you feel hot all over without warning. Some women may have recurrent hot flashes that affect their ability to work, rest, or take care of other responsibilities.
6. Night sweats
Just like hot flashes, night sweats can disrupt your quality of life. Some women experience night sweats so severe that they have to change their sheets and clothes several times a night.
Night sweats can also interfere with the quality and quantity of sleep you get every night, which could worsen your daytime irritability.
7. Depression and anxiety
Hormone fluctuations that occur during menopause may affect your mental health.
Many women experience depression, anxiety, and even panic attacks during their perimenopause years, even if they’ve never had mental health struggles before.
8. Cognitive difficulties
During your transition to menopause, you may notice that you live in a mental fog. Imbalanced hormones can cause difficulties concentrating, memory issues, and ongoing forgetfulness.
If you’ve entered menopause and want treatment, or if you want to see if your symptoms are related to menopause, we can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group today.