Menopause marks the end of a person’s menstrual cycle and is a natural progression in the reproductive system of those with ovaries. Menopause symptoms typically start in middle age and depending on what stage of menopause you are in, your physical and mental symptoms will vary. Your first year of menopause will bring many changes, some of them unexpected, so it will benefit you to know what commonly occurs in order to keep track of your experience and your health.
Before menopause begins, you may sense a shift in your body or normal menstruation cycle. This period in your reproductive life marks the first signs of menopause. This change often occurs in your forties, though a small fraction of women experience it earlier in life. During this time, your body’s levels of estrogen, or the “female hormone”, fluctuate–because of this, you may feel your mood and normal cycle shift. You may experience menopause-like symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes
- Trouble concentrating
- Missed, light, or irregular periods
- Sleep issues
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Breast tenderness
Once you have gone a full 12 months without a menstrual cycle, you have officially entered menopause–at this stage, your ovaries are no longer releasing eggs. The age a woman becomes menopausal is thought to be linked to genetics, though medical history factors in as well. Activities like smoking or exposure to radiation are also known to contribute to menopause. During this time, you may experience many of the same symptoms as perimenopause. Symptoms that may also develop include:
- Changes in libido
- Hair loss
- Joint pain
Menopause looks different for everyone, especially at the beginning. The good news is that there are medical experts available to you that are able to help you stay on top of your reproductive health. Whether you just started menopause or have questions about the process, our team is here to assist. Please contact us today!