Menopause: The Symptoms

Currently going through the change, otherwise known as menopause? Here are some symptoms you might expect.

Some women ominously call it "The Change." Flashes of The Hulk exploding out of his slacks and shirt while in the midst of a rage begin to creep into the mind. While some women may think this image describes their own experience with "the change" to a "T," menopause is not as dramatic as that. Menopause is simply the time in a woman's life when her menstrual periods come to a stop. This transition is a natural progression of a woman's life and occurs anytime between the ages of 45 and 60, although many women report the beginnings of menopause even earlier. Technically speaking, as a woman's body begins to age, her ovaries stop production of estrogen, which, in turn, stops the menstrual cycle.

Three out of four women report feeling one or more symptoms when going through menopause. As with pregnancies, no two menopause transitions are the same. While one woman may feel nothing different, aside from the stopping of her menstrual cycle, during her menopause, another woman might experience every symptom in the book. Here are some of the more common symptoms of menopause.

* One of the symptoms you hear about most often is the infamous hot flash. A hot flash feels just like, well, a hot flash! It is essentially a warm sensation that seems to spread over the face and head area, much like an intense form of blushing. The hot flash occurs out of nowhere and can often be accompanied by sweating, a rapid heartbeat and a sense of anxiety. The hot flash often occurs very quickly and is over before you know it, but some women have reported hot flashes that last for several minutes. It is not uncommon for a woman to experience hot flashes when she is sleeping, which often causes the woman discomfort.

* Right before menopause really takes a hold, some women have irregular menstrual cycles. Because of the fluctuating hormones, a woman may have lighter or heavier periods or no period at all for a few months.

* Many women report having vaginal dryness, which often results in pain during sex. Because of this, it is not uncommon for a woman to have a decreased libido.

* Moodiness, irritability and depression can also be attributed to menopause. As hormones begin raging, so can moods. Other emotional symptoms woman often report include lethargy, memory loss and poor short term memory. You may have heard women who go through menopause say things like, "I feel like I'm going crazy!" Now you know why.

* Woman who are currently going through menopause also have a higher tendency to get urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs are very unpleasant as they bring along painful urination and an intense desire to urinate, even when there is nothing in your bladder. Researchers feel that urinary tract infections are caused by the thinning of the skin and glands located around the urethra.

* Some women may experience changes in their body, including a redistribution of the weight they carry. For instance, if you normally carry weight on your lower half of your body, you may find that your weight will start to settle more on your mid-section around your waist. Your hair may also become noticeably thinner.

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