Menopause is a word that fills many girls with dread, especially as they enter their late 30s and early 40s. Defined as the stage in every woman’s life when her body’s ovaries no longer produce the female hormone estrogen, menopause is an important turning point in the lives of girls and one that causes many women to change their own self-perceptions.
Understanding menopause symptoms and signs can help make this hormonal transition easier, and provide needed reassurance that the sexual encounter is simply a normal part of life. Normally, menopause signs and symptoms start to appear in women between their late 40s and early 50s. Immediately before the beginnings of menopause, a period named Perimenopause.
During Perimenopause, a woman’s body starts to undergo the changes that most people today associate with menopause. Perimenopause typically lasts for approximately four decades. Of menopause signs and symptoms, menstrual cessation is typically the first to be recognized. This doesn’t necessarily imply that the menstrual cycle ends all at once – although this does happen in some women.
Many women, however, experience irregularity in their phases, both in terms of frequency and duration. Additionally, the flow of blood can me markedly different than the woman’s pervious menstrual experience, and may either increase or decrease dramatically. Many women find that their body skips intervals for several months at a time, which may cause false concerns over pregnancy.
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This irregularity can last from several months to many years. Other menopause signs and symptoms include hot flashes, interrupted sleep patterns, mood fluctuations, dryness in the vagina, body fat increases – particularly in the stomach, and thinning of their hair. Hot flashes are one of the most frequent complaints during perimenopause, and are experienced by approximately seventy percent of perimenopausal women. Sleeping patterns can sometimes be disrupted consequently, though hot flashes aren’t always the cause of disrupted sleep.
Due to the changing hormonal balance in the body, women also experience mood swings through perimenopause, with emotions running the difference between depression and irritability. Other menopause symptoms and signs are not any less traumatic for the girls who experience them. Vaginal dryness not only generates distress, but can make sex less enjoyable. Many women also find themselves suffering an increase in vaginal and urinary problems – most especially infections – as a consequence of the decrease in estrogen levels. That reduction also results in increased weight gain and hair loss, which can only increase the volatility of mood swings.
Perhaps the most important thing for many women to recall as they go through menopause is that the changes involved aren’t the end of the world. And contrary to the misconceptions held by many women, these changes aren’t the end of their femininity or their sexuality. While it’s true that some women do experience a decline in sexual desire as they come face to face with menopause signs and symptoms, the huge majority do not. Even more importantly, help is available for all those women who do suffer a loss of desire.