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Menopause Symptoms

[Edit] [Revisions] [Writers] What are the Symptoms of Menopause?

Irregular Periods and Irregular Ovulation

  • Shorter or longer cycles
  • Heavier or lighter bleeding
  • Spotting in between periods
  • Reduced fertility

Read more on menopause and pregnancy here.

Hot Flashes

  • Reported in up to 80% of American women
  • Sudden onset of a feeling of heat
  • Face and neck flush
  • Lasting 30 seconds to five minutes
  • Occurring at any time
  • Usually stop within a few years after menopause
  • In addition to being uncomfortable, hot flashes can also cause
    • anxiety
    • social embarrassment
    • psychological distress

Vaginal and Bladder Problems

  • Skin in genital area becomes drier and thinner
  • Sexual intercourse may become painful
  • Vaginal dryness and burning
  • Urinary tract problems may occur, such as infection and incontinence

Changes in Sexuality

  • Attitude toward sex may change
  • Diminished interest in sex
  • Arousal and comfort may be issues
  • Liberation from concerns about pregnancy
    • Note: to prevent unwanted pregnancy you should continue to use birth control until one year after last period
    • Risk of sexually transmitted diseases remains

Fatigue and Sleep Problems

  • Normal sleep patterns may be interrupted
  • Early morning awakening

Mood Changes

  • Irritability
  • Depression
    • Women experiencing severe hot flashes are at an increased risk of depression, likely caused by the hot flashes themselves or by sleep disturbances.
  • Anxiety
  • Stress and change in family dynamics may contribute to mood problems

Visible Changes in Your Body

  • Thickening at the waist
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increase in fat
  • Loss of elasticity in the skin

Other Potential Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Joint and muscle stiffness or pain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thinning of scalp hair; more prominent facial hair
    • Result of decrease in estrogen; therefore a relative increase in andrigens (male hormones)

[Edit] [Revisions] [Writers] References

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/ . Accessed November 2009.

National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/ . Accessed February 14, 2006.

North American Menopause Society website. Available at: http://www.menopause.org/ . Accessed February 15, 2006.

Dormaenen, Annbjorg. “Depression in postmenopause: a study on a subsample of the Acupuncture on Hot Flushes Among Menopausal Women (ACUFLASH) study,” Menopause 18, no. 5 (2011): pp. 525-530. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181f9f89f