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About the Symptoms of Early Menopause

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Friday, May 11, 2007 | 1 comments

As symptoms of the early menopause we can find physical signs and emotional signs. In the category of the physical signs, we can mention irregular periods, infertility, vaginal dryness, bladder control problems, hot flashes and night sweats, weight gain, palpitations, headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, gastrointestinal distress and nausea. There can also appear increase in facial hair, changes in body odor, dry mouth and other oral symptoms, dizziness and sore joints.In what concerns the emotional signs, there can appear irritability, mood swings, anxiety, confusion, lack of concentration, memory lapses, lowered libido, and extreme fatigue.

When the irregular periods appear, that means that the periods will come later then usual, or will come more frequently – every 24 days instead of every 28. There can also happen for you to skip a month and then go back to normal for several months, then skip two periods in a row and so on. You may also experience a light period that lasts only few days, and then, the next month, a very heavy bleeding. Shorter cycles come because the follicles are developing faster.

This happens because you produce lower levels of estrogen during your preovulatory stage, and the FSH levels are higher than normal. Because you don’t produce enough estrogen to build up your uterine lining, extremely light periods can come, but this can be also because of an anovulatory period. Extremely heavy bleeding is a sign of an anovulatory period, but estrogen builds up the uterine lining in the absence of enough progesterone. The uterine lining keeps building up until the production of estrogen drops off and the lining is shed.

You must know that as you get closer to menopause, your menstrual cycle usually lengthens, you may begin skipping periods, and, the bigger change that may happen – you will stop having periods altogether. It is important to know that cancer, polyps, non-malignant tumors, or fibroids can provoke some irregularities in your menstrual cycle.

In premature menopause, there can appear infertility problems. This may happen even if you still have your period, and believe everything is perfect normal.

Hot flashes, also known as the trademark symptom of menopause are estimated to affect 75 to 85% of American women when they are in menopause. It is known that hot flashes can start with a hot, prickly feeling in the middle of your back, the skin temperature can rise up to 8 degrees, your pulse shoots up, and you start sweating as your body tries to cool itself down. Sometimes, your face, neck and chest turn pink or deep red, and you may also get the night sweats, which is the nighttime version of hot flashes.

Hot flashes can be controlled by HRT, by herbs, vitamins, natural supplements, and other methods, but you should also try to reduce stress, limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods, exercise, wear natural fibers, layered and loose-fitting clothing, and in order to stay cool at night, drink cold water at the first time of a sweat, and use cotton sheets and cotton nightclothes. Vaginal tissues start drying and become less elastic when your estrogen levels drop. Sex becomes uncomfortable and you may become more prone to infections. The vagina will take longer to become lubricated and it may atrophy. You may also find that it takes longer to get sexually aroused, and that sexual stimulation may become unpleasant. Sex can become uncomfortable, and even painful. It is important to know that this symptom of the menopause is treatable, and it’s often completely reversible.

To deal with this problem, you can start the standard estrogen replacement therapy, you can use an estrogen ring designed to help with vaginal dryness and atrophy, a vaginally-inserted estrogen cream, but you can also have more sex, use a lubricant to help with the loss of lubrication (vitamin E – a capsule inserted in the vagina helps with lubrication), and avoid antihistamines and certain decongestants and anything that can irritate or dry your vagina.

Like your vagina loses muscular tone and elasticity when estrogen production lags, the same thing happens to the lower urinary tract. You may have to urinate more frequently or you may have urinary stress incontinence. Because the lining of the urethra becomes thinner and the surrounding muscles weaker, when you press stress on your bladder- for example when you cough, sneeze, laugh- you may release a tiny bit of urine. It is important to visit your doctor if you experience severe incontinence.

Sometimes, a great degree of bladder control difficulty can be related to another problem that has nothing to do with the early stages of menopause, and we can also mention that frequent urination can appear because of a bladder infection or diabetes. That is why, it is important to be consulted by a doctor to see exactly what you are dealing with.

If you are having this bladder control problem, you can take estrogen, try Kegel exercises, which will strengthen the muscles around the vagina and bladder opening, and also reduce the intake of caffeine and alcohol. It is known that insomnia may be connected to the menopause. Scientists say that the frequency of insomnia doubles from the amount you may have had before you entered premature menopause, and also women begin to experience restless sleep 5 to 7 years before entering menopause.

HRT and alternative therapies work well in dealing with this symptom, and you can also drink herbal tea before going to bed, avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes before bedtime, and keep your bedroom cool. Even if some doctors say that menopause has nothing to do with weight gain, there are studies that indicate hormone levels are tied to weight gain and redistribution of fat. In order to cope with this symptom, you can opt for HRT or other natural alternatives, and also changes in diet and exercise can do well.

Because your estrogen levels drop, the collagen production slows down too, and as a result, you will see that your skin gets thinner, drier, flakier, and less youthful-looking. Unfortunately, this sign often shows up early in menopause, so you may look a little older than you used to. In order to see a definite improvement, you must increase your estrogen levels through HRT or phytoestrogens like soy or flaxseed. You must also remember (in what concerns the so-called collagen enriched crèmes) that collagen must come from within in order to work on your skin, and not to be applied from without.

Because of the dropping estrogen levels, there can appear headaches, and many women with regular menstrual cycles get headaches just before their periods or at ovulation. So, because the production of estrogen slows down due to premature menopause, you may experience these hormonally- induced headaches, but you can also experience that if the progesterone levels are too high in relation to your estrogen levels.

If low estrogen causes the headaches, you should take estrogen, and you can also try anti-inflammatories, certain herbs, and if the headaches are crippling the doctor may prescribe anti-migraine medication. There can appear breast tenderness, which can last for days and weeks and you will feel your breasts tender to the touch and swollen.

You may also experience gastrointestinal distress and nausea - which can manifest with gas, indigestion, heartburn, and you can also experience tingling or itchy skin - you will have a feeling like some bugs are walking all over you, or you will have a burning sensation like an insect sting.Connected to the estrogen deficiency is the hair loss or thinning - you will notice hair in your brush, your hair will get drier, or you will notice a thinning or loss of pubic hair. Because of low estrogen levels, the mucous membranes will dry, and there can appear a bitter taste in your mouth and bad breath.

For more resources about menopause or about male menopause please review

Article Tags: Menopause, Male Menopause

Author: Groshan Fabiola

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hair loss in women can also occur for reasons other than female pattern baldness, including the following:
    Temporary shedding of hair (telogen effluvium)
    Breaking of hair (from such things as styling treatments and twisting or pulling of hair)
    Patchy areas of total hair loss (alopecia areata -- an immune disorder causing temporary hair loss)
    Thyroid Diseases
    Certain skin diseases
    The hair loss restoration treatments for the above are different than the Female pattern baldness which is usually diagnosed based on the appearance and pattern of hair loss and by ruling out the above mentioned causes of hair loss.

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