During the 40s and 50s, when men are busy with their midlife crisis, women go through a whole set of experiences like hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, sleep disturbances and so much more. Menopause, a trip for women.
Menopause is the end of your menstrual cycle. The end of your reproductive state. You are in menopause if you have not had your period for 12 consecutive months. Though the average age of menopause is 51 years, no one can be certain when they will start going into menopause. And till when the symptoms will last, is also not clear.
Quoting Angelina Jolie, ” Every woman is different when they go through menopause, and… I didn’t know emotionally how would I feel.” This phase may be confusing and trying for you. The best way to deal with it is to know what will happen to your body when you enter menopause. So, here is a guide to help you know when to start preparing yourself for menopause and what changes you may notice.
Perimenopause is the time right before menopause. This is the time when your body will start dropping hints about your approaching menopause. You will experience irregular periods. This is because ovaries start releasing lesser and lesser number of eggs as you walk towards menopause. Your periods may become light or heavy. They may end early or may last longer than usual. All this, courtesy of changing levels of estrogen, the female hormone.
Hot flashes may happen once a day or multiple times in the same day. You can experience them for a few months or even a few years. The best remedy is to avoid foods that worsen hot flashes, such as alcohol, spicy foods or caffeine, and also smoking.
Vaginal dryness. Because estrogen and progesterone levels start declining when you’re near menopause, the thin layer of moisture that coats the vaginal walls gets affected. This will cause the vagina to become dry. You may experience itching or burning in your vulva and the dryness may cause intercourse to become painful too. A water based lubricant or a vaginal moisturizer will help reduce the itching and discomfort.
Disturbed sleeping pattern. You may have difficulties falling asleep, or you may wake up in the middle of the night and going back to sleep may seem impossible. Hot flashes, too, could make you wake up earlier than you wanted. Try relaxing and breathing exercises. Listen to soothing music or read your favorite books before you sleep, and you might sleep better.
Mood swings are extremely common leading up to menopause. You may feel irritated, depressed, or may get angry over trivial things. The changing hormone levels in your body may make you may feel extremely low at one point and overly happy at another. Don’t worry about it and remember all this is natural and will go away after some time. Talk to family members about it. Their understanding of your situation and giving you support will definitely help you during this bumpy ride.
Frequent urination. At the time of menopause, the muscles of the vagina and urethra lose their elasticity and their lining becomes thin. It is common to experience a constant urge to urinate during this time. You may want to urinate even when you don’t have a full bladder, or you may feel pain while urinating. Some women may even experience urinary tract infections. This, again, is due to decreased levels of estrogen and dryness in the vagina. Consult your doctor if you experience any symptoms of a UTI.
Menopause is a challenging time for many women, while for some it may be a cake-walk. The experience is different for every woman. Try to relax as much as you can. Keep a positive outlook and remember, all this will soon become normal. Share your experience with a friend who might also be going through the same phase. A little support will help a lot. Talk to your doctor and ask for ways that might help reduce the symptoms of menopause. Your body will change during this time. Take care of it.