All women know that menopause will start someday, but not exactly when. The average age for the start of menopause is about 50, but how long menopause lasts is different for every woman. The process can take as short as two years or as long as ten years. How do you know if you are starting the process of menopause and what are some common symptoms? Here is a list of symptoms to clue you in:
- Irregular menstrual cycle. This symptom happens to every woman, as it is one of the main processes of menopause. However, you won't necessarily stop your period as soon as you start menopause. Your period may come more frequently, or just be more sporadic for a few years. This symptom can start long before other menopause symptoms make themselves manifest.
- Hot flashes. Hot flashes are the most common symptom for women undergoing menopause, but that doesn't make them any more comfortable. During a hot flash, your body suddenly gets extremely hot and flushed.
- Mood swings. It is common for a woman going through menopause to feel extremely emotional. This is due to the changing balance of hormones in the body. This hormonal imbalance from menopause can also cause depression and anxiety as well.
- Sleep disturbances. Not only can going through menopause make you sweat more than normal at night, it can also disrupt your sleep and cause insomnia.
- Vaginal dryness. Many women experience vaginal dryness as well as vaginal atrophy (shrinking or narrowing of the vagina).
- Fatigue. Going through menopause can make many women feel tired and exhausted. Fatigue is deeper than just wanting to sleep—it's a complete lack of energy.
- Incontinence. There are different kinds of incontinence, but all can be caused by menopause.
- Weight gain around the middle. Many women experience weight gain, especially to the stomach, during menopause. This can be due to a slowing metabolism as well as a hormonal imbalance.
- Loss of sex drive. Although some women actually experience an increase in sex drive during menopause, most have a harder time getting aroused. This is understandable because of the changing hormones in your body.
The list of menopause symptoms continues, but just because you have a symptom doesn't mean you need to give up. For many symptoms, small tips and tricks can make your life a lot more comfortable. Menopause does not have to change how you live your life. It's a normal process, and your body will just need some comforting and coaxing to get through it.