What Are Common Menopause Symptoms
Some common menopause symptoms are:
Irregular periods: Periods becoming shorter, longer, heavier, lighter. Skipping periods.
Hot flashes: A hot flash is a sudden, sometimes intense feeling of heat that rushes to your face and upper body. Hot flashes can be really uncomfortable, but they usually only last a few minutes. They can happen a few times a day, a few times a week, or a few times a month.
Night sweats: Hot flashes that wake you up in the middle of the night.
Sleep problems: You may have insomnia trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. You may also start to wake up much earlier than you used to.
Vaginal changes: The lining of your vagina may become thinner, drier, or less stretchy. This can cause dryness or discomfort during sex.
Urinary or bladder infections: You may have to pee more often or get more frequent urinary tract or bladder infections.
Mood changes: Hormone changes can make you feel anxious, irritable, and tired. Your sex drive might change, too.
Weaker bones: Your bones will probably weaken during menopause. If its really bad, it can lead to osteoporosis after menopause. Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week can help you maintain bone health.
Some people may have a long and difficult perimenopause, up to 1012 years. But most people find that the common menopause symptoms are temporary and only last 35 years.
How To Stop Hot Flushes
- See your doctor to make sure there is no underlying medical condition causing your hot flushes, particularly if youâre also suffering from symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, weight loss or diarrhoea
- Check the listed side effects of all of your current medication. If hot flushes are listed as a side effect then discuss your prescription with your doctor. There may be a suitable alternative, or changing timing or dosage might help
- Keep a food diary. This will help you identify whether certain foods or ingredients are triggers
- Track when you have a hot flush. Write down where you were and what you were doing. This might reveal patterns or environmental factors that are causing them
- Make time for yourself. Scientists have identified a link between hot flushes and stress
- Exercise regularly
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Hot Flushes And Night Sweats
Along with irregular periods, hot flushes are one of the primary signs of the onset of the menopause. For most women, hot flushes occur occasionally and do not cause much distress. However, for a smaller percentage of us, around 20%, hot flushes can be severe and interfere with quality of life and sleep. Women tend to experience hot flushes for about two years on average, but for a small percentage, approximately 10%, hot flushes can continue for up to 15 years!
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Can You Get Cold Flushes Or Chills At Menopause
Some women report sudden chilly feelings which sound very similar to hot flushes in the opposite direction on the thermostat.
During and after a hot flush some women experience headaches, shaking and dizziness. These physical symptoms can compound psychological symptoms such as feelings of anxiety, depression and lack of confidence. If you’d like to read more about anxiety, panic attacks and social anxiety
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Hot Flashes
- Hot flashes are typically brief, lasting from about 30 seconds to a few minutes.
- Redness of the skin, known as flushing, may accompany hot flashes.
- Excessive perspiration can also occur when hot flashes occur during sleep they may be accompanied by night sweats.
- Feelings of anxiety may accompany hot flashes.
- Occasionally, palpitations may occur during hot flashes.
The timing of the onset of hot flashes in women approaching menopause is variable.
- While not all women will experience hot flashes, many normally menstruating women will begin experiencing hot flashes even several years prior to the cessation of menstrual periods.
- It is impossible to predict if a woman will experience hot flashes, and if she does, when they will begin.
- About 40% to 85% of women experience hot flashes at some point in the menopausal transition.
- black cohosh, and
- alternative therapies.
Some of these have not been tested by clinical studies, nor are they approved by the US Food and Drug Administration .
What Causes A Hot Flash
Hot flashes occur when estrogen levels in the body drop. Estrogen is a hormone that is responsible for the regulation of the reproductive system in people with a uterus.
Falling estrogen levels affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls appetite, body temperature, hormones, and sleep patterns. The hypothalamus is sometimes called the bodys thermostat because of the role it plays in regulating body temperature.
A drop in estrogen levels can cause the hypothalamus to get mixed signals. If it senses that the body is too warm, it prompts a chain of events to cool the body down: The blood vessels dilate, blood flow is increased to the surface of the skin, and heart rate may increase as the body tries to cool off. Some people experience a chilled feeling after a hot flash.
Most hot flashes are caused by hormonal changes, but they can also be related to other health conditions, substances, and even certain treatments or medications.
Other things that can cause hot flashes include:
Perimenopause Symptoms And Signs
Perimenopause describes the time period when a woman is approaching menopause. During this time is when symptoms and signs begin. Examples include, weight gain, vaginal dryness, mood changes, painful sex, and hot flashes.
The complex hormonal changes that accompany the aging process, in particular the declining levels of estrogen as a woman approaches menopause, are thought to be the underlying cause of hot flashes. A disorder in thermoregulation is responsible for the heat sensation, but the exact way in which the changing hormone levels affect thermoregulation is not fully understood.
Hot flashes are considered to be a characteristic symptom of the menopausal transition. They also occur in men and in circumstances other than the perimenopause in women as a result of certain uncommon medical conditions that affect the process of thermoregulation. For example, the carcinoid syndrome, which results from a type of endocrine tumor that secretes large amounts of the hormone serotonin can cause hot flashes. Hot flashes can also develop as a side effect of some medications and sometimes occur with severe infections or cancers that may be associated with fevers and/or night sweats.
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Remedies For Hot Flashes
If you cant take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keephot flashes to a minimum:
- Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
- Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
- Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
- Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.
Many women turn to herbsand supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found littleevidence that theyre effective, Dr. Thacker says.
Scientists are alsotesting a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, sheadds. Its a potentially exciting development, but one thats not availablejust yet.
In the meantime, youdont have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, andtalk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage oflife.
Hot Flushes And Sweats
Hot flushes and sweats are the most common symptoms of the menopause and can affect three out of every four menopausal women*. Characterised by sudden feelings of heat which seem to come from nowhere and spread upwards through the body, the chest, neck and face, hot flushes and sweats are probably caused by changes in hormone levels which affect the bodys temperature control. Women talked about their experiences of hot flushes and sweats, the effect on their life, and what they did to relieve the symptoms.Hot flushesSome women we talked with had either not had flushes at all, had noticed just occasional mild feelings of warmth lasting seconds, or had simply not been bothered by them. Others, however, had more intense hot flushes which happened throughout the day and night, lasting several minutes or longer and accompanied by sweating, dizziness, light-headedness and heart palpitations. One woman said she had about twenty hot flushes a day another flushed every ten minutes throughout the day .
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Tips To Reduce Hot Flashes
Depending on your level of tolerance and the frequency and intensity of symptoms, you might not need ways to manage your hot flashes. It generally depends on how the hot flashes are impacting a womans quality of life, says King. If a woman has only one or two hot flashes per day, she may not be seeking any type of relief. If the hot flashes are significantly affecting a womans daily activities, it may be time to take action. If you fall into the latter camp, there are nonhormonal ways to manage hot flashes. Here are six key tips to managing symptoms.
This is an easy one. When you get ready for your day, give yourself the chance to cool off by dressing in layers. That way, when a hot flash strikes, you can simply remove a sweater or jacket.
Sometimes hot flashes can strike when youre out and about. Slipping a small paper or electric fan into your bag can help to provide some relief while experiencing a hot flash in an environment where you cant easily control the temperature.
This might seem like a fairly straightforward approach, but for the java lovers, it can be tricky to turn away from that morning cup of coffee, which can raise your body temperature. Fortunately, you can simply switch them out with iced beverages instead.
Alcohol can dilate or relax blood vessels. This can in turn cause a person to feel warmer due to heat being lost through the skin. So use the hot flashes as an excuse to cut back on the merrymaking.
Other Changes During Menopause
The loss of estrogen during menopause can cause changes in the vaginal and vulvar skin. These changes can result in vaginal dryness, burning and discomfort, or painful intercourse. Most women need a lubricant.
There are many different formulations, but silicone-based lubricants are best. Be aware that most over-the-counter lubricants contain preservatives, which can cause irritation. A preservative-free silicone lubricant or natural product, such as extra virgin olive oil or organic unrefined coconut oil, can also work.
Many women also experience painful spasms of the interior pelvic muscles, called vaginismus. Specialized physical therapy is a very effective treatment. Our center has a group of female physical therapists who are specially trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
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Hot Flashes During Perimenopause
Most women don’t expect to have hot flashes until , so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes sometimes called hot flushes and given the scientific name of vasomotor symptoms are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. They’re also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire “from the inside out.” A major hot flash can induce facial and upper-body flushing, sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion. Having one of these at an inconvenient time can be quite disconcerting. Hot flash frequency varies widely. Some women have a few over the course of a week others may experience 10 or more in the daytime, plus some at night.
Most American women have hot flashes around the time of menopause, but studies of other cultures suggest this experience is not universal. Far fewer Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian women report having hot flashes. In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, women appear not to have any at all. These differences may reflect cultural variations in perceptions, semantics, and lifestyle factors, such as diet.
Other Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause
Some other symptoms of menopause include:
Certain lifestyle changes can ease hot flashes and some other menopause symptoms. A person can try:
- limiting alcohol, spicy food, and caffeine if these make symptoms worse
- using a portable fan or water mister when hot flash symptoms appear
- dressing in layers so that it is easier to remove clothing and cool off
- quitting smoking, if applicable
- practicing meditation, mindfulness, and other mind-body interventions, which can ease stress and may help with hot flashes
- breathing slowly and deeply during a hot flash
Paroxetine , a type of antidepressant, may help relieve hot flashes in cases where lifestyle changes are ineffective, or a person wants to avoid taking hormonal medications.
Most people take the drug at lower dosages than they would for depression. However, when someone experiences depression along with menopause, a doctor may recommend a higher dosage.
The safest strategy is to take hormones at the lowest effective dosage and for the shortest possible time.
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When To See A Doctor
There are many different reasons for experiencing hot flashes. While most of them are not serious, you do need to know for sure what is causing them.
If youre having trouble narrowing down the cause of your hot flashes, try keeping track of the episodes. List the details about the outdoor and room temperature at the time that you have one, your diet and activity levels, and any medications that you used. After a few weeks of collecting data, your doctor might be able to help you find a pattern.
What About The Dreaded Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause caused by the hormonal changes in your body. It’s a feeling of intense warmth that can appear suddenly or slowly and cannot be attributed to an external source.
A hot flash may have no clear trigger, but can also be caused by alcohol, hot drinks, caffeine, spicy foods, smoking, or room temperature. They can be as mild as feeling flushed or severe enough to wake you from a sound sleep, also known as night sweats. Most hot flashes last 30 seconds to five minutes. They usually disappear within a few years after menopause, but some women may experience them for decades.
Women in menopause can experience hot flashes as often as several times a day. But this experience can vary from one woman to the next and may include:
- Sudden warm feelings or sweating.
- Redness of the face, neck, ears, chest, or other areas.
- Tingling fingers.
- Racing heart beat or palpitations.
- Feeling cold or getting the chills as the hot flash ends.
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Intensity Of Hot Flashes
The intensity of hot flashes is classified according to the following categories:
- Mild. These episodes are barely noticeable, provoke a slight sensation of heat, and don’t interfere with daily routine.
- Moderate. These episodes cause sweating, yet women are still able to continue with their activities. They may briefly cool off with a fan.
- Severe. These intense episodes force women to seek immediate relief. They can consist of profuse sweating, chills, and dizziness, among other symptoms, disrupting current activities.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause
Women may have different signs or symptoms at menopause. Thats because estrogen is used by many parts of your body. As you have less estrogen, you could have various symptoms. Many women experience very mild symptoms that are easily treated by lifestyle changes, like avoiding caffeine or carrying a portable fan to use when a hot flash strikes. Some women dont require any treatment at all. Other symptoms can be more problematic.
Here are the most common changes you might notice at midlife. Some may be part of aging rather than directly related to menopause.
Change in your period. This might be what you notice first. Your periods may no longer be regular. They may be shorter or last longer. You might bleed more or less than usual. These are all normal changes, but to make sure there isnt a problem, see your doctor if:
- Your periods come very close together
- You have heavy bleeding
- Your periods last more than a week
- Your periods resume after no bleeding for more than a year
Vaginal health and bladder control. Your vagina may get drier. This could make sexual intercourse uncomfortable. Or, you could have other health problems, such as vaginal or bladder infections. Some women also find it hard to hold their urine long enough to get to the bathroom. This loss of bladder control is called incontinence. You may have a sudden urge to urinate, or urine may leak during exercise, sneezing, or laughing.
What Causes Hot Flashes And Sweating During Menopause
Ellen Sarver Dolgen, Coronado, Calif.-based author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness, found her life thrown upside down when perimenopause began in her late 40s. Her first hot flash happened while she was in a business meeting with all men.
âI felt a flush of heat come over me but I didnât want to pay much attention to it,â she told WebMD. But when she stood up she felt sweat dripping down the inseam of her pants. âThank goodness I carry a big purse because I think it makes my hips look smaller,â she says. She used her purse to hide the wet mark on her pants as she left the meeting. âIt was absolutely mortifying.â
Doctors think hot flashes and night sweats are a result of fluctuating or decreasing estrogen levels. When menstrual cycles finally stop, estrogen levels drop fairly dramatically, Omicioli says.
The drop may impact a part of the brain that regulates body temperature. We all have a thermal neutral zone, which means our body temperature stays stable even when the temperature around us changes slightly. Theoretically, a drop in estrogen levels may narrow the thermal neutral zone, so that small changes in outside temperature cause a rise in body heat.
There are a couple of other theories about why menopause and excessive sweating tend to go hand in hand.