Menopause symptoms are as different and individual as women themselves. Some experience symptoms that their friends never do. The duration and severity of the symptoms is variable. Menopause is a natural part of life that all women go through, some with more difficulty than others. But one thing all women have in common is the ability to make choices how to deal with their menopause symptoms. In the western world about 12% of woman don’t experience menopause symptoms and about 14% experience intense physical or emotional problems.
Psychological symptoms of menopause
Anxieties, difficulty in concentrating, overreacting to minor upsets, quickly being irritated, forgetfulness and mood swings are typical psychological problems. But studies indicate that many cases of depression relate more to circumstances than to menopause itself. Other events, such as worries about elderly relatives, retirement, divorce or widowhood, children growing up and moving out of the house occur around the period of menopause. Also some problems may be caused indirectly because of sleep problems. To deal with emotional symptoms you should exercise regularly. This will help maintain your hormonal balance and preserve bone strength. Talking to other women, who experience menopause problems, can help with emotional symptoms. Women approaching menopause often complain about memory loss and inability to concentrate.
Hot flushes and other vasomotor symptoms
Hot flushes is the most typical and best known symptom of menopause. Hot flushes may begin 4 years before menstruation stop, but they usually continue a year or two after menopause. Hot flushes are sudden waves of body heat, usually in the face or chest. These problems may be accompanied by flushing, palpitations, perspiration, chills or night sweats. Hot flushes are caused changes in the control of the temperature of the body.
During menopause, insomnia or disturbed sleep may be experienced. It can take many forms, including difficulty to fall asleep or awakening during the night. Menopause can lead to tiredness during the day.
Vaginal dryness and less elastic tissues are common symptoms, because of the effect of a decreased estrogen level. Vaginal dryness can cause pain and irritation during intercourse. Interest in intercourse may decline and a requirement for more stimulation to reach orgasm is also very common. Vaginal lubricants can make intercourse less painful.
The chance of incontinence increases with age and there is evidence that estrogen loss plays a role. During menopause, the tissues in the urinary tract also change, sometimes leaving women more susceptible to involuntary loss of urine, particularly if certain chronic illnesses or urinary infections are also present. Exercise, coughing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or similar movements that put pressure on the bladder, may cause small amounts of urine to leak. Lack of regular exercise during menopause may contribute to this condition. It’s important to know that bladder training is a simple and effective treatment for these symptoms.
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Soy intake related to menopausal symptoms, serum lipids, and bone mineral density in postmenopausal Japanese women. Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Jan;97(1):109-15