Menopause - Symptoms

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Menopause Symptoms

  • Hot flashes: Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. According to some studies, hot flashes occur in as many as 75% of perimenopausal women. Hot flash symptoms vary among women. Commonly, the hot flash is a feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, lasting from around 30 seconds to a few minutes. Flushed (reddened) skin, palpitations (feeling a strong heartbeat), and sweating often accompany hot flashes. Hot flashes often increase skin temperature and pulse, and they can cause insomnia, or sleeplessness. Hot flashes usually last 2 to 3 years, but many women can experience them for up to 5 years. An even smaller percentage may have them for more than 15 years.
  • Urinary incontinence and burning on urination
  • Vaginal changes: Because estrogen affects the vaginal lining, perimenopausal women may also have pain during intercourse and may note a change in vaginal discharge.
  • Breast changes: Menopause may cause changes in the shape of the breasts.
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Bone loss: Rapid bone loss is common during the perimenopausal years. Most women reach their peak bone density when aged 25 to 30 years. After that, bone loss averages 0.13% per year. During perimenopause, bone loss accelerates to about a 3% loss per year. Later, it drops off to about a 2% loss per year. No pain is usually associated with bone loss. However, bone loss can cause osteoporosis, a condition that increases the risk of bone fractures. These fractures can be intensely painful and can interfere with daily life. They also can increase the risk of death.
  • Cholesterol: Cholesterol profiles also change significantly at the time of menopause. Total cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels increase. Increased LDL cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
  • Heart disease risk increases after menopause, although it is unclear exactly how much is due to aging and how much is caused by the hormonal changes that occur at the time of menopause. Women who undergo premature menopause or have their ovaries removed surgically at an early age are at an increased risk of heart disease.
  • Weight gain: A three year study of healthy women nearing menopause found an average gain of five pounds during the three years. Hormonal changes and aging are both possible factors in this weight gain.
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Comment from: snow_hiker, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 02

I started "the change" when I turned 40. Bear in mind, I only had spotting during my menses, but also suffered cramping so bad the first day, I was on prescription pain pills to be able to function. Even after the birth of my only child at age 32, I continued to only spot, but no more cramps. I have NOT had any surgery to remove my female parts or tie my tubes, everything is still in tact. Once I had started the change, I went through what my doctor called "classic" text book symptoms. These included: night sweats, hot flashes, irregular periods (not every month), mood swings, increase/decrease in libido, weight changes, etc.. My doctor told me that once I quit having my menses for a full 12 months, I would be "completed" through the change. He was right, but I still have the occasional hot flashes. He said that can happen and may or may not continue the rest of my life. HE SAID EVERY WOMAN IS DIFFERENT WHEN IT COMES TO MENOPAUSE, AND THAT EACH ONE WILL EXPERIENCE A COMBINATION OF SYMPTOMS. He also SUGGESTED (mind you)that if I could deal with going through menopause and afterwards WITHOUT HRT (hormone therapy), I would be better off without it. SO I CHOSE NOT TO TAKE IT. Not every doctor would agree with that, but I believe he is right. I am now 53 yrs old, and my bone density is still the same as it was when I had my first mammogram at age 39. I take 1200 mg of Calcium with Vitamin D daily, and also go for a walk 3 to 4 times a week. I still have the occasional hot flash, but I can live with that. Not having my periods anymore is so wonderful! Menopause ROCKS!!!

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Published: August 02

I'm 37 and am having weird symptoms that I believe to be menopause. I am frustrated at the lack of straight-forward information. For instance, why are they not doing more in-depth studies of progesterone cream, or bioidentical hormones? If men went through menopause, I'd bet they'd have all this figured out by now....

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