The term menopause refers to a phase that women go through, characterized by a series of changes that mark the end of her reproductive period. Some women go through menopause without any unpleasant and debilitating symptoms while others have a difficult time lasting for years. Most of the symptoms associated with menopause begin during the perimenopause stage and are associated with the lowered production of reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones have many effects on your body, which is why the symptoms will vary widely from one woman to another. If the symptoms become unbearable, consult a Winter Park OB/GYN at Contemporary Women’s Care.
Doctors recommend that you get a minimum of seven or eight hours of sleep every night, but this can be particularly difficult to achieve during menopause. You might have trouble falling asleep and find yourself waking up earlier than you wish. To manage the problem, relaxation and breathing techniques are recommended.
Ensure you have sufficient exercise during the day because once you’re tired, you’ll have no trouble falling asleep. Turn off all electronics that might disrupt your sleep including your computer, and mobile phone. Try to relax before bed by bathing, reading, meditating or listening to music. Ensure you go to bed at the same time every night, and take extra care to avoid foods and drinks that alter sleep, for instance, alcohol, chocolate or caffeine.
During menopause, vaginal and urethra tissues lose their elasticity, thinning the lining and making it difficult to control the bladder and hold urine. The surrounding pelvic muscles weaken, causing you to experience a constant need to urinate, even without a full bladder. Changes in the urinary tract may also make you susceptible to urinary tract infections. Treat these symptoms by strengthening your pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises, abstaining from too much alcohol and staying hydrated. If you feel pain or burning sensations while urinating, see a doctor.
Hot flashes can be described as sudden, intense feelings of heat in the upper part of the body or sometimes all over the body. Most women have reported hot flashes as one of the main symptoms of menopause. Your face may turn red and you may feel flushed and sweaty all over. Hot flushes range from mild to very strong, and they can disrupt your quality of life. They can last anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. During the perimenopause stage, many women have reported experiencing hot flashes lasting a year or two, and in some cases, it continues after menopause. Over time, they lessen in intensity.
Irregular Menstrual Cycle
Estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle and affects many parts of the body. If you miss your period (and you are not pregnant), then it could indicate the onset of menopause. Menopause causes changes in the menstrual cycle making them heavier, lighter or irregular than what it used to be. The cycle may also become longer or shorter in duration.
Women can experience vaginal dryness at any stage in their lives but the problem becomes particularly challenging when you’re going through menopause. As the production levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease, the thin layer of moisture coating the vaginal walls are affected. This can cause a stinging or burning sensation around the vulva, making intercourse painful. Most treatment options include applying a water-based lubricant or vaginal moisturizer, or any sexual activity that increases the flow of blood to that area.