What Your Body Goes Through During Menopause

By Michelle Ludick

We need to take a quick look at what Peri-menopause and Menopause is, and then by doing so we will be better equipped at handling what may come our way. Or if you are already there, you may have a better understanding of what is going on with your body. You may be forgetful, emotional, tired and experiencing strange heart palpitations. These can all be due to Menopause. Let’s look at some more symptoms.

To put it simply during Peri-menopause the hormones in a woman’s body change. Menopause means the end of your menstrual cycle. For some that may be exciting while for others a start of a nightmare. Periods cease because there are such low levels of estrogen and progesterone being produced, and eventually they stop all together. With the cease of periods you can also no longer have anymore babies.

The average age for menopause to start is 51 but women can experience menopause either before or after or if their ovaries need to be removed. Peri-menopause is what your body goes through as it sets in for “the change”. It marks the end of your baby producing years. For every woman, how long it lasts is different. It may be a couple of months or a good few years.

A first sign of Peri-menopause is when your menstrual cycle starts to change. They may become more frequent, less frequent, you may experience a heavier cycle or a lighter cycle, and you will just generally notice a change.

The most common symptom that you will experience is that of Hot Flashes. These flashes will come suddenly and in waves and may be accompanied with feelings of nausea, dizziness and headaches. The hot flashes don’t always last very long and they leave you feeling clammy and uncomfortable. In some women it is just mildly irritating while in others it causes havoc with their day and sleeping at night becomes a constant feat as they are never comfortable enough due to having to deal with night sweats. Night sweats have been known to leave the individual and the bed sheets soaked in perspiration.

Some women experience terrible mood swings and depression. This may be caused due to sleep disruptions that come with having to endure night sweats. It may also be due to a change in the hormonal balance in a women’s body. Either way, if it is something that you not feel you have control over you must seek medical assistance. The problem is that because mood swings and depression are so rife it is not often attributed to being just one of those things that come with Peri-menopause.

Depression can be very debilitating so the quicker you are able to get to the root of it and have access to the love and support you need then the better it is for you and those around you that love you very much. It needs to be remembered that a woman has a lot of other factors to deal with at this time of Peri-menopause, such as her children leaving home and her having to deal with an “empty nest” is just one of them.

You may need to urinate more often and you may feel pain when you do. This is due to the lining of the bladder becoming thinner. Low estrogen levels in your body may also leave you to be more susceptible to urinary tract infections and the muscles that control the bladder may become weaker. Leakages may occur when coughing or sneezing but there are ways to prevent this from happening when you consult your doctor.

Bones become weaker and osteoporosis may set in. The statistic is that more women are likely to develop osteoporosis than men are because their skeletal frame is generally just smaller. As your bones become weaker, and because of the loss of calcium, due to your body absorbing less, they become brittle and are more susceptible to breaking. Estrogen seems to play an important part in the health of ones bones; as estrogen levels decrease, so does the bone mass. Hip fractures occur more in older women and it is very difficult and sometimes not very probable that they will recover from it.

Due to a decrease in estrogen the walls of the vagina become thinner, losing their elasticity and then becoming painful if lining becomes inflamed, rough and dry. This may also cause sexual intercourse to be painful and /or uncomfortable. The thinning of the vaginal walls also makes your body more susceptible to vaginal infections.

Weight gain during menopause is also common and the area where the most weight is put on is around the waist. Some have stated that studies have shown that a lack of estrogen in the body leads to weight gain while others state that it is more to due to the change in lifestyle. Yet that does not explain why there is a redistribution of fat from the thighs to the stomach. Maybe weight gain has got to do with a bit of both. A proper diet and lots of exercise will help. Remember however that ones metabolism does get slower as you get older.

Being a women, menopause and Peri-menopause are just one of those things in life that we all have to deal with at one time or another. It is how we deal with it that makes all the difference.

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