Every female goes through 2 major milestones in life in terms of her feminine health – the first being the onset of puberty, and the other is Menopause.
Menopause is often the less talked about topic, and many women are still unaware of how to cope with menopause and what to expect from it.
How do I know whether I have already gone through menopause? Are these symptoms I’m experiencing associated with menopause? Is this normal?
All these are very frequently asked questions, and we are here to provide a little more insight on how to know when your ‘time’ is finally here.
1. Your Age
The average age for a woman to undergo menopause is approximately 50 years old. Menopause can occur anytime between 45 to 55 years old.
If you fall within the mentioned age range and are experiencing some of the other symptoms that we will discuss in this article, then there is a high chance that you may be going through menopause!
2. Irregular Periods
Menopause doesn’t happen overnight, and nobody goes through menopause just like that.
There are usually signs that your body displays to give you hints that the time may be approaching. And one of the most common and noticeable symptoms is a change in your period pattern.
The time leading up to actual menopause is also known as the Peri-menopausal Period.
Changes in your periods during Peri-menopause include menstrual periods that are:
- Much lighter in flow
- Lasting a shorter number of days or
- Skipping a couple of months.
Menopause only officially occurs when you don’t experience a period for one entire year!
However, if you are experiencing irregular periods that DO NOT correspond to the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to consult your doctor as not all period changes are attributed to menopause!
3. Mood Swings
A woman will be going through several hormonal fluctuations during this time, as her body is adjusting and preparing to enter menopause.
As a result of these fluctuations in female hormones, experiencing mood swings or changes in your temperament may be a common occurrence.
4. Hot Flushes
Hot flushes are one of the most common telltale signs that menopause is approaching.
Hot flushes can affect up to 60% of women who are in the peri-menopausal phase or who have already menopause.
Most of the time, many women actually take this common symptom as a telltale sign that menopause is approaching soon.
Hot flushes commonly present as feelings of flushing or sweating even in an air-conditioned room. This often occurs at night, which may impact a good night’s sleep for these women as well.
5. Insomnia And Fatigue
Poor sleep and insomnia are commonly related to the symptoms of hot flushes, which commonly occur at night.
On top of this, the reduced levels of female hormones in the body can also aggravate feelings of stress and poor sleep more easily. This may keep women wide-awake at night, which leads to feelings of fatigue or low energy during the day.
6. Vaginal Dryness
The 2 key female hormones responsible for maintaining a healthy vagina are estrogen and progesterone.
As you approach menopause, your ovaries produce less and less estrogen and progesterone, eventually stopping completely once you reach menopause. The reduction of these female hormones will lead to reduced lubrication and thinning of the skin around the vagina. This leads to vaginal dryness, which is what we refer to as vaginal atrophy.
Dryness down below can lead to other problems such as painful sex, bleeding from the vagina and frequent urinary tract infections.
7. Reduced Libido
With lowered female hormones, a woman’s sex drive will naturally be decreased. This, coupled with vaginal atrophy, can lead to sex becoming an unpleasant or unsatisfactory experience for a woman.
Many women in turn start feeling emotional or stressed out due to feelings of inadequacy or inability to satisfy the needs of their partners, or to maintain the intimacy of their marriage.