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The most common observation among women regarding menopause is that they don’t realize they are experiencing it for months or even years. Most women fail to recognize the onset of menopause and in turn have trouble managing it.
In technical terms, you are experiencing menopause if you haven’t had your period in 12 months and you are not pregnant or otherwise battling a disease. Perimenopause and postmenopause are the two stages of menopause. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause and normally starts in the 40s but can also occur in a woman's 30s as well. It can start 7-8 years before menopause. Postmenopause is the phase after menopause or if a woman has not had her periods for an entire year. Menopause is a completely natural phenomenon, one that takes years to complete. Women can experience it anytime during their 30s, 40s or 50s, depending on their medical history.
Listed below are the most prominent signs of menopause that you may be going through right now: Irregular Periods This is probably the earliest and most common sign of perimenopause. You might not have periods at regular intervals as you usually do, they may be short or long in duration. You may experience spotting as well. This happens when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. As a result, it becomes tough to keep track of your period. It is advised to stay extra vigilant and wear a pantyliner leading up to an oncoming period and mark the days as well. There are quite a few mobile apps these days that can help you with that. For example, “Clue”. Please remember that it's still possible to get pregnant as long as you have periods.
Period Symptoms Without Periods As an added symptom of irregular periods, you can end up feeling the accompanying signs of a period like irritability, feeling bloated and tender breasts with no period.
Hot Flushes Hormonal imbalance can increase body temperature, making you feel hot all of a sudden. It happens mostly in your upper body parts like the chest, neck, and face. More than 70% of women experience hot flushes during menopause. Some even experience visible red spots on the torso. Avoid spicy foods and hot drinks as they can trigger and/or make your hot flushes worse. Smoking is another trigger. Your doctor at BirthRight by Rainbow Hospitals, best gynecologist hospital in Hyderabad, can prescribe some medication to soothe them in case they get unbearable. Breathing exercises can provide immediate relief from hot flashes. Exercising regularly can help quell hot flashes in the long run.
Night Sweat Night sweat is another term for excessive sweating during sleep. They can often wake you up from sleep.
Dry Vagina This is one of the most common symptoms of menopause and occurs due to the natural decline of estrogen levels. You may experience pain during intercourse due to soreness around your vagina. The use of lubricants may help. Get checked for vaginal and bladder infections if you continue to feel uncomfortable.
Loss of Bladder Control While it may not be the case for all women, vaginal dryness is sometimes accompanied by loss of bladder control in the form of a sudden urge to pee and not being able to hold urine for long. Kegel exercises are one of the best natural ways to treat this problem.
Mental and Physical Changes You may experience more extreme mood swings as compared to your periods. 1 out of 3 women going through menopause also report anxiety. You may also experience dry skin and thinning of hair. You may gain or lose weight during this time as well.
RULE OUT EVERYTHING ELSE This is a major point to remember before drawing conclusions. Experiencing some symptoms alone does not mean that you are experiencing menopause. You need to rule out other possibilities like diseases and pregnancy. Late pregnancy is a possibility most women tend to not give much thought to, especially when their periods become increasingly irregular. Simply feeling anxiety or disinterest in intimacy does not make it menopause either. They are only accompanying symptoms. It is always best to visit Birthright by Rainbow Hospital and consult best gynecologists in Hyderabad if you are in doubt to get a better understanding and proper treatment.
Consultant Obstetrician, Gynecologist & Laparoscopic Surgeon MBBS, DGO, FMAS
Rainbow Children’s Hospital & BirthRigh, Banjara Hills.