Menopause is defined as the time when a woman no longer has monthly menstrual periods for one whole year. Normally experienced after the age of 40, this stage is a natural part of every woman’s life. No two women experience menopause the same way—one woman may suffer from many symptoms, while another may not experience any at all. In the months or years that lead to menopause (perimenopause), many women experience the following symptoms:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Difficulty sleeping or sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
- Loss of breast fullness
- Thinning hair
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased fertility
After a woman reaches full menopause, the ovaries cease releasing eggs and producing most of their estrogen. Bladder control problems, headaches, joint pains, and irritability are common symptoms that can affect women in conjunction with the others during this stage.
If you are suffering from menopause symptoms, there are things that you can do to help find relief. Eating healthy foods will give you energy and keep you physically and emotionally balanced. Limiting your consumption of alcohol and caffeine can help you to sleep without disturbances. If you are overweight, consider working to shed those excess pounds—losing weight may help with hot flashes. Regular exercise may help you to manage your weight, sleep soundly, and improve your mood. Stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or acupuncture will also help you cope with your symptoms.