Menopause is something that a lot of women dread, in spite of the fact that it’s a normal and natural process. You’re bound to hear horror stories from the older women in your life about how unbearable it is, and as your friends and women of a similar age to you start to experience it, you may be watching yourself with laser focus, reading into every little ache and drop of sweat and wondering if it’s a sign. Knowing more about the real, reliable signs of oncoming menopause can help you to feel less anxious and more confident about the change you’re about to undergo, so here are the signs you should be looking out for!
This is the one irrefutable sign that menopause has begun. It’s what the name literally means– the stop of the period. If you start to notice your periods becoming very irregular in their length, heaviness, or cycle, especially if they’ve always been mostly regular, it’s a sign that menopause is beginning for you. Once you go a full year with no periods at all, you’ve officially crossed the threshold and are medically considered to be in menopause. Watching your periods will be the most important predictor of this change!
Chills, Hot Flashes, and Night Sweats
Perhaps the most infamous symptom of menopause is the notorious temperature fluctuations– the chills, the hot flashes, and the night sweats that make it hard to stay comfortable. If you start noticing yourself feeling disproportionately warm or cold compared to everyone else in the room, it may be a sign that menopause is starting.
Whether they’re brought on by night sweats or other discomforts or seem to have no cause at all, changes or difficulties in how you sleep are often a sign that something is afoot in your body, and it can be an early indicator of menopause, especially if you notice sleep problems in conjunction with other symptoms like changes to your period!
Menopause is a major physical and hormonal change in your body, in much the same way that puberty was when you were young. As such, it comes along with similar mood changes that may be frustrating or hard to predict. Although you probably have a better handle on them now that you’re more mature and less impulsive than you were as a teenager, you may still find yourself feeling suddenly angry or sad without much provocation. It’s okay, and it’s a normal thing to experience! Try to let these feelings wash over you; just feel them as they come and then let them go. They’re still your feelings, even if your hormones are kicking them up a notch. Give them their moment, and then move on with your day!
Alterations to your libido or sex drive are a very normal thing to experience in menopause, as are shifts in how much you actually enjoy sex or sexual activity. This can be due in part to symptoms of menopause like vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or painful, but it can also happen separately of physical changes– simply a change in your sex drive. It’s not unheard of for some women to have an increase in libido, but it’s more common for a decrease to occur and for women to lose some interest in sex. If you find this is straining your relationship with a partner or partners, seeking out medical help can be useful in restoring your sex drive to what it was, and therapy can help you and your partner adjust to the new normal in your relationship.
Physical changes to your body are a big sign of the shifting hormone levels that take place with menopause. Common things that you may see are a decrease in breast volume or fullness, thinning of hair both on the head and on the body, dry skin, weight fluctuations, and weakened bones or osteoporosis. Some of these changes are harmless if a little annoying, while others can become uncomfortable or pose problems for your long-term health. Speak to your doctor about them– they can help you to find approaches that will keep you comfortable, confident, and healthy throughout this transition!
If you’re noticing these signs in yourself on a regular basis, then it’s probably safe to assume that you’re entering menopause! Despite the fact that these symptoms are incredibly common, they can be very frustrating and difficult to deal with. Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is a powerful tool that can help you to deal with them. To learn more, you can read about the HRT offered by Renewed Vitality here!