Health

15 Things No One Ever Tells You about Menopause

It’s no secret that your body changes as you grow older. Knowing what to expect can help you ward off some of the problems that creep… Simi - December 23, 2017

It’s no secret that your body changes as you grow older. Knowing what to expect can help you ward off some of the problems that creep up on you as you age. Exercise is an important part of keeping some of the problems in check. So if you think there will ever come a time when you can hang up your trainers, think again. Exercise cannot be given up without conscience.

Experts are clear that when it comes to exercise, you should be doing three or four sessions a week. This should take a duration of at least 30 minutes of intense. And don’t forget to play a kid sometimes. You can do swimming, cycling, skipping and running. This will be great for you. When you are in your 30s, there are some problems such as weight gains which may affect you. To lose weight can be a problem and needs to be managed.

The bad news is that as you age your metabolism starts to slow down. This happens at a steady rate. The good news is that it can be stimulated with high-intensity exercises. Because there are more wear and tear at that age, you can start slowly. Strength training is becoming increasingly important to maintain your joint stability and to increase your lean body mass.

When your years approach the 40s, the exercises improve your body’s health. This decade leads up to menopause in your 40s and 50s. It is ideal to ensure that you are paying closer attention to the needs of your body. As you get older, it’s important that you should remain healthy and active. Here are some of the things no one ever tells you about menopause.  

1. Hot Flashes Continue for Years

Hot flashes are a sudden sensation of warmth that spreads over the body causing a redness. This normally appears on the face and upper body. It is a common symptom of menopause. Although named flashes as if they stop quickly, they can take years to disappear. The experience can be varied and you may feel delicate flashes and a sensational of engulfing flames.

Hot flashes arise due to the body’s reaction to a decreased supply of the hormone called estrogen. This happens naturally as women go closer to menopause. This doesn’t happen to all women and in some women, they may occur until after the last menstrual period has happened. For some people, estrogen production reduces gradually, producing less hot flashes.

In other women, the ovaries stop the production of estrogen suddenly. For these women, the hot flashes can be continuous. It is estimated that around 75 to 85% of women in the United States experience hot flashes during menopause. In a study published in 2015 in JAMA Internal Medicine, they found menopause symptoms in women. The study revealed that menopause symptoms lasted more than seven years during the menopause transition in more than half of the women.

The hot flashes can be managed by avoiding foods and drinks that trigger it. These include hot beverages, spicy food, warm air temperature, stress, alcohol, and caffeine. There are some medications which may trigger it and need to be avoided. Hormone replacement treatment is available that involves taking estrogen. In some cases, you may be required to keep a change of nightclothes at hand. If you have gone through a hysterectomy, taking estrogen alone will be advisable.

2. Extreme Tiredness

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. This occurs when there is an ongoing and persistent feeling of tiredness and lower energy levels. This is characterized by apathy, irritability and reduced attention to activities. It comes suddenly and leaves you devoid of energy. It may cause you quit any activity you may be doing at that particular moment. It becomes impossible to do simple work which you would normally do.

This kind of fatigue is caused by hormone changes. The hormones such estrogen manage energy use at a cellular level and affects you when the hormone levels reduce. This results in decreased energy levels during menopause. Chronic fatigue can have a significant impact on your daily life. It can affect your relationship, work productivity and general quality of life. Taking it lightly can cause other people detest your work abilities. Treating it by managing the hormone imbalance is important.

In a study that was published in 2015 in Menopause, it stipulates that early menopause is related to chronic fatigue. They also singled out menstrual abnormalities, endometriosis, pelvic pain and hysterectomy as some of the causes of this fatigue. Managing the chronic fatigue include planning your daily routine in a proper way. It is important to get a rest whenever you feel tired especially when you are doing chores that may cause harm to yourself.

Fatigue may sound like something that can be taken lightly, but it can have drastic consequences. It involves meticulously managing your daily life. Fatigue can cause simple tasks that are taken for granted like driving become dangerous. It has been estimated that there are around 100,000 car accidents annually that are caused by drivers experiencing fatigue. Getting the necessary rest when you feel tires is the hallmark of managing the fatigue. 

3. Weight Gain

The weight gain is associated with a thickening around the waist and is a sign of changing hormones levels in menopause. The hormone changes influence weight gain and redistribution of fats in your body during menopause. For instance, when there are fewer estrogen hormones, it leads to the body retaining more fat cells. This is taken as an alternative source of compounds of estrogen. Gain weight is a gradual process and does not happen suddenly during menopause

The low testosterone levels can cause a reduced metabolic rate in your body. This means that when you are in menopause and going forward, you will need fewer calories daily. If you continue eating as you would do normally, this will lead to weight gain. Consider exercising to improve the body’s metabolic rate and avoid weight gain. There are some treatments for such a condition that is available for women going through weight gain associated with menopause.

The study that was published in 2004 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it stated significant results on weight gain. The results indicated that there is no direct connection between weight gain through menopause and hormonal changes. The study points out that the significant contributing factors include lack of physical exercises. It also highlighted that a slowdown in the metabolic rate was the contributing factor.

Another related study in 2012 that was published in Climacteric, the Journal of the International Menopause Society had conflicting results. It reported that the hormonal changes in all those in perimenopausal period contributed increasing in abdominal obesity. This results in extra physical and psychological morbidity. One thing that stands out is that weight gain during menopause is unhealthy. This can cause the potential impact on other diseases such as depression and heart diseases.

4. More Bad Hair Days

Hair loss is another physically noticeable menopause symptom that is caused by lack of enough estrogen. The hair follicles require estrogen to manage hair growth and its deficiency may disrupt its functions. The hair loss can be sudden or gradual. Sometimes you may notice thinning hair on the head and other body parts. The hair can become dry and more brittle. It will fall out when brushing your hair or when taking a bath or shower.

The gradual hair-loss or hair-thinning may come without any adverse symptoms. The mere fact that you are losing hair can be traumatic as it is a sign that you are aging. There are various ways in which the hair-loss can be stopped during menopause. This is by treating the hormonal imbalance that is causing the loss of hair. Should the hair-loss be accompanied by poor health condition, you may need to consult your doctor.

A study in 2011 that was published in the British Journal of Dermatology has some highlights on the hair-loss. It reported that hormonal changes in menopause have a direct effect on the changing hair factors. A study conducted by Belgravia Center in London pointed out that menopause symptoms such as hair loss may last up to 7.4 years. Some women can have the symptoms for much longer and up to 14 years.

The good part about the hair-loss problems is that it normally occurs in both men and women. Due to this, there is a lot of information that is available for you to correct the situation. It can be overwhelming to sift through the information but you are bound to get some remedies for your problem. If you are experiencing adverse symptoms when you are losing hair, consult your doctor so that you can be treated. 

5. Sleep Problems

Menopause can bring sleeping disorders such as insomnia. During menopause, you may experience that sleeping is not an activity where you can rest. It becomes difficult and you may end up tossing and turning during the night. Studies have shown that women start experiencing restlessness five to seven years prior to entering the menopause period. There is a drop in progesterone and estrogen levels that cause sleeping problems.

Diagnosing if the sleep disorder is being caused by menopause can be a problem. Studies have indicated that problems with sleep are not always related to other menopause symptoms. It is significant that you differentiate if your unique sleep disorder is really been caused by hormonal imbalance. There can be other causes that are behind it. The fact remains that sleep disorders are associated with menopause.

In a study that was published in 2005 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, it causes sleep disorders. It reported that there are three main ways in which menopause affects sleep. The first was the concept of a menopause mood disorder and the occurrence of menopause-related insomnia. The other was an increase in the sleep-disorder breathing. Lastly, was an increase in the development of fibromyalgia.

The hormonal changes plus several factors contribute to sleep problems during the menopause period. If you are experiencing sleeping problems at night, you will sleep longer hours after menopause. This can affect your body. It will cause changes in emotions and weight. It is important that you should get a hot bath of 20-30 minutes prior to sleep. This will assist you to deal with hormonal-related sleep disorders. In effect, you can have a better night sleep. 

6. Bone Loss

Osteoporosis is a condition where there is a degenerative bone disorder resulting in thinning and weakening of the bones. There is also a reduction in bone mass and density. Menopause is associated with the bone growth. In a normal situation, the bones undergo the process where the old bones are continuously replaced with new bone cells. This process changes as you get older and at around 35 years, there is a reduced bone growth.

Estrogen and other hormones are involved in the calcium absorption into the bones. When there is a drop in estrogen levels, you will experience an increased reduction in bone density. This happens to start from the perimenopause period going forward. This may cause your bones to be fragile and more likely face risks of getting your bones broken. It is of great concern because it may cause severe injuries.

The study in 2008 that was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism highlighted on the bone loss. It stated that in the late perimenopause, the bone-loss increases significantly. It continues at a similar trend in the initial postmenopausal years. The study went further and says your body weight is a significant determinant of the rate of bone mass density. This happens during menopause period.

The hormones such as the estrogen assists to keep your bones strong. The ovaries stop producing these hormones during perimenopause and menopause which happens between 2 to 8 years. As a result, you start losing the bone-density during that period and this affects your health. It is important that you should resort to keeping your bones strong. There are some medicines that can be used to manage this condition. 

7. Extreme Skin Dryness

Collagen production can reduce when estrogen levels go down during perimenopause and menopause. Collagen is significant for helping your skin be well-toned, fresh-looking and resilient. The skin will be noticeable when your body is having low levels of collagen. The skin gets thinner and less youthful. The skin dryness can lead to severe diseases such as pruritus or itchy skin. This can be uncomfortable when you are sleeping.

Before the collagen reduces, you will experience itchy skin during the menopause. It can be rapid at the start of menopause. It has been suggested that premature menopause leads to more rapid collagen loss. The other downside of it is that you will look older than before. The hormonal imbalance requires being in order to address the problem of skin dryness that leads to the itchy skin.

The 2007 study that was published in the Clinical Interventions in Aging, it found other causes of skin dryness. It found that apart from estrogen deficiency been associated with the skin dryness, aging also affects skin appearance. Aging reduces skin thickness and this results in dryness, wrinkling and increased occurrence of proliferating lesions. There is wasting of the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous that affects the thickness of the skin.

This condition can be treated by using moisturizers. The moisturizers will hydrate the dry skin and in that way reduce the itching. When the estrogen levels reduce, the oil production in your skin gets affected. As you age, the skin fails to retain water as well. This worsens the conditions and requires drinking a lot of water. Ensure that you hydrate your body with as much water as possible during the day.

8. Frequent Mood Swings

Changes in hormonal levels that happen during menopause can cause changes in the brain chemistry that can generate depression. Irritability is common in most individuals and is characterized by reduced patience and tolerance. You may lash out in anger over small issues that can easily be solved. The low levels of the estrogen affect the neurotransmitters that are responsible for regulating the mood.    

Many women are irritable most of the times that come because of other stresses of other symptoms of menopause. The hot flashes and sleeping problems can put you on the edge. Should the irritability continue for more than a week, consider seeking medical help. This behavior can affect your personal life with family and friends. It may also have an impact on your job performance.

The frequent mood changes and depression can be debilitating. Depression signs can take time to be noticed. In most cases, they don’t appear for the first time after menopause. You may especially become susceptible to depression during the perimenopause time. It has been found that most women require prescribed drugs for other health problems. This has been attributed to the cause of depression during menopause because of emotions.

In 2011 there was a published study in the Psychological Medicine on depression. They found that women were two to four times more likely to go through depressive moods when in perimenopausal period. Mood changes and depression can be catastrophic and will cause you to feel sad and anxious. Deep breathing, meditation, a healthy diet and proper sleeping may help deal with the problem. You also need to surround yourself with family and friends to support you.

9. Rise in Bad Cholesterol

Menopause can increase the development of cholesterol in your body. This type of cholesterol is referred to as the bad cholesterol. It is generally bad for the good health of your body. There are many effects that come are associated with menopause and increase in age. There are also hormonal changes that are related to menopause more specifically the estrogen. These changes have an impact on the production of the bad cholesterol in your body.

In a study that was published in 2009 by the American Journal of Epidemiology, they identified some of the bad cholesterol. They found that total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoprotein (a) would rise in some women. This was especially found in women who were experiencing late peri and early post-menopause. They noticed that there were minor changes for women who were in the early stages of menopause.

In another related study done in 2015 by the North American Menopause Society, they found cholesterol effects on women. The results reported that menopause reduction has an impact on the good cholesterol. This results in women become more susceptible to artery hardening when they are going through the menopause period. The hardening of arteries has an effect on the blood circulation due to the collection of the bad cholesterol in the body.

When you are going through changes in menopause, it leads to an increase in good cholesterol. This was associated with the more build-up of plaque. This observation means that the quality of HDL good cholesterol may be changed as you go through the menopausal changes. There are several things that you can do to manage the changes in the cholesterol levels. This includes doing a lot of exercises and eating a healthy diet.   

10. Memory Issues

There are many women who experience some memory loss occasionally. This normally happens prior or after menopause. It can be severe in some women when forgetfulness can affect their personal and work lives. As a result, it has bad consequences on their work productivity. This kind of forgetfulness is related to menopause. It happens due to the reduction in your body’s amount of hormones.

The reduction in the hormones such as estrogen can affect your memory prior or during menopause. The estrogen has an effect on another hormone called cortisol which affects the way the chemicals in the brain work. Any disruption to the cortisol can affect your brain. This imbalance in the cortisol level will cause the brain to improperly work. This will lead to short-term memory lapses.

There were significant results in a study that was published in 2011 by Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America. It reported that perimenopause has been known to have contemporary and long-term effects on cognitive functions. They went further and pointed out that the impact of perimenopause on cognition looks like it is both transient and subtle. The good news is that if you are experiencing this condition, you can be assured that it is temporary.

In another related study that was published in 2012 in Menopause, they had similar outcomes. They found that memory problems when experienced in the menopause period are real. They suggested that it’s important to exercise your brain through some games. Such games include crossword puzzles, playing chess and reading. This will assist your brain to remain focused and will be challenged. In such way, the memory-loss can be reduced.

11. Breast Pain

Breast pain has been associated with the occurrence of menopause. The breast pain is characterized by a general discomfort or the pain related to touching your breast. This can also happen when you apply pressure to the breasts. The breast pain, soreness or tenderness is in one or both breasts is associated with symptoms of hormonal changes. This can also happen during or is accompanied during menstrual periods.

There are some women who can experience the breast pain during their pregnancy, postpartum and menopause. One thing that stands out is that the specific hormonal imbalance that is attributed to this condition varies. There are some women who may experience the breast pain at different times of their lives. There are also others who experience it at different levels of pain. Therefore, other women may feel severe pains while others it can be bearable.

It is advisable that you should seek medical attention from your doctor if you feel the pain is severe. The breast pains are supposed to be temporary and not severe. If it persists or severe for more than two months it needs special diagnosis by a doctor. Sometimes the pains are accompanied by a breast lump, nipple discharge, or any other symptoms that are not normal.

There are some physical conditions that can affect the status of your breasts. It has been suggested that the poor diet which you eat and lack of regular exercises can cause you to become overweight. This leads to having the painful breasts. The good part is that this problem is treatable and the pain can be alleviated in the long-run. You need to eat the recommended dietary foods and exercise more often.

12. Headaches

Headaches have been associated with the occurrence of menopause in some women. A headache can arise due to many factors including muscle tension and drinking some drinks such as alcohol. It can also come as a side effect of some infections such as flu. It has been suggested that headaches can be caused by the effects of the hormonal imbalance that comes at various stages of your life. It is common during the perimenopause and menopause periods.

There are some women who have regular menstrual cycles who get headaches and even migraines. This happens prior to their periods or when ovulating. These headaches are sometimes called menstrual migraines and happen when the estrogen levels increase during the menstrual cycle. When your body starts slowing down the production of estrogen because of menopause, you experience headaches which can be frequent.

The intense headaches can sometimes be accompanied by confusion or high fever. This is an indication of a more severe health condition and needs the doctor to help you. These headaches should not be taken for granted if they are taking longer and become severe. There are other infections which may be causing such conditions and only the doctor can ascertain their causes.

There are other natural remedies which you can use at home should you prefer to take them. These natural medicines have been suggested that they relieve you from the headaches and migraines. Most of the commonly used natural remedy is the application of the peppermint oil to your forehead. It can also be applied to your temples. If you think your headache is a result of stress, you can drink chamomile tea.

13. Digestive Problems

The digestive problems have been related to the hormonal imbalance in women going through the menopause. Digestive problems are the changes in the gastrointestinal activities. The symptoms include excessive gas output, gastrointestinal cramping, and nausea. There are many factors that cause the digestive problems in women going through menopause. The hormonal imbalance disturbs the natural transit of food in the gut. This will lead to stomach pains and sometimes they can be severe.

It has been suggested that stress can have a bad impact on the normal functioning of the hormones. It is important to note that a change in diet can bring digestive problems and lactose intolerance. You may also experience that your body is not accepting the dairy products such as the milk and its byproducts. This happens when your body reduces the production of the digestive hormones like lactase. This happens as you age.

Chronic stomach problems can be deceiving in your body. Sometimes, the symptoms of the chronic illness may disappear on some occasions and even months at a time. However, if they are not treated sooner, they will return to your body after this period of reprieve. What classifies this as a chronic stomach problem is their return after a disappearing for some time.

If you are experiencing gas and stomach pains for more than three days you will need to see your doctor. Sometimes you may experience the pains which are more intense than before. This is especially critical if you are in your perimenopause or menopause period. There are remedies which can alleviate such conditions and your doctor will be in a better position to prescribe the right medicine.

14. Gum Problems

Most women going through the menopause period may face gum problems. The gum problems are most common with people who have poor dental hygiene. The menopausal hormonal changes such as estrogen can also cause the condition. Some of the most common gum problems experienced by women in menopause include gingivitis. This is a condition where there are inflammation and bleeding of your gums. Gingivitis can happen to any individual but has been linked to menopause as well.

When gingivitis is left untreated, it can cause some severe consequences. Some of the effects include tooth loss, mouth infections and possibly heart disease. It is imperative that you should seek medical attention if you are experiencing the gum problems. The condition is treatable and your doctor will prescribe to you the right drugs that can reverse the problem. The condition can cause some pains in the affected gum tissues.

When you are severely affected by the gum disease, your gums may bleed and become sore. It can be treated in several ways including following the proper hygiene ways. It can be also be cured by treating the hormonal imbalance which is the root cause of the problem. You will need to change and follow the right healthy lifestyle to correct the situation.

There are natural supplements which you take to treat gingivitis. It is significant to note that the gum disease can lead to loose teeth and can fall out. This happens because the tissue surrounding the teeth becomes damaged. Furthermore, the bones around the tooth can be weaker. The tooth loss will affect your appearance and you may look older. It is always ideal to follow the right dental hygiene health.

15. Itchy Skin

Itchy skin is one of the first signs of the menopause that appear because collagen is lost. It is more rapid at the beginning of menopause. There have been suggestions that premature menopause can also cause more rapid collagen loss. The mere fact that the skin has lost collagen, your appearance will look older. This condition is as a result of the hormonal imbalance such as lack of enough estrogen.

When you are feeling severe itching for a lengthy period of time you may need to consult your doctor. There are various medicines and therapies that will ensure that your condition is treated. It may be required to determine the type of itch that you are experiencing and what is really causing it. The doctor’s prescription will describe in details what to expect from the disease.

When it comes to skin conditions in menopause women, extreme tingling is another condition that you may be feeling. There are some women who may feel some crawling on their skin. It’s as if there are things walking on your skin and there is a burning sensation like an insect sting. There are others who may be over-sensitive in their hands, arms, legs, and feet. In most cases, this is harmless which happens due to reduced blood flow.

Extreme tingling in your skin is a clear sign of menopause that is caused by low estrogen levels. It can also be a symptom of a number of problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Any tingling should be a major concern especially when it affects one side of the body. Or even, when it’s accompanied by muscle weakness. You will need to consult your doctor immediately if this happens.

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