What to Expect Symptom-Wise
Perhaps one of the most significant first symptoms of menopause is the hot flashes which can cause you to sweat at night or even during the day when everyone else is comfortable or even cold. These hot flashes may or may not be accompanied by red blotchy skin, flushed skin or even a prickly kind of heat.
As a woman and a mom, I can give you a non-clinical or college educated medical description of some of the early menopause symptoms. I can define menopause for you in my own words. It is a women’s final menstrual period. This phase may take anywhere from one year to several years. Every woman’s experience with their period is slightly different. During the years that a woman is menstruating, her body produces estrogen and progesterone. She has a higher production of estrogen prior to each ovulation and high estrogen and progesterone levels after ovulation. These hormonal changes cause the mood swings, headaches and other adverse symptoms during the time leading up to her period or during her cycle.
Urinary problems may also be early signs of menopause but should always be checked out by a doctor to re-affirm the cause. Frequent need to urinate, development of a urinary tract infection and even leakage of urine when sneezing, coughing or exercising can also be attributed to perimenopause.
Irregular periods, of course, are early signs of menopause as well. However, because perimenopause can last years, whenever you start exhibiting signs of irregularity, you should be examined by a doctor to rule out other health issues like tumors, fibroids, cancer and more. There are many things that can cause irregular periods and should not be the “end all to end all” signs of menopause.
Hot flashes, gaining weight, and lack of sleep can result in moodiness and depression. There are a few things you can do to prepare for this time of life or relieve some of these first symptoms of menopause if you are already experiencing them. I started an exercise program. Exercise can help reduce these symptoms and decrease the possibility of heart disease, osteoporosis, and obesity. I joined a local gym and sought the advice of a female personal trainer. She helped develop an individualized exercise routine according to my medical and exercise history.
The actual event itself will likely come with little fanfare as you have been experiencing the early signs of menopause for years. You are in true menopause when you have not had a period for at least one year. Of course, those symptoms will likely continue for a while longer past the perimenopausal stage. The real kick in the pants comes with the fact that you can still get pregnant while still exhibiting the early signs of menopause. As long as you are still having periods, that means you are still ovulating and thereby there is always a small chance of pregnancy.