Common Symptoms of Menopause
Many women experience cognitive or ____________ changes.
Hi, I am Dr. Amy Rosenman, a urogynecologist and menopause expert with Rosenmanmd.com and today I am here on behalf of About.com to share with you the Symptoms of Menopause.Menopause is usually heralded by irregular periods associated with hot flashes and night sweats. Next may come mood swings and insomnia. We are used to the 28-day menstrual cycle or something like it. As we reach menopause, our ovulatory function is the first to change. The ovaries become resistant to the message from the pituitary, and ovulation is no longer a timely occurrence. Along with irregularity of cycles comes irregularity of menstrual flow. It may be heavier than we are used to due to a crescendo of estrogen before the ovaries quit for good, or it may be a gradual reduction in flow and increase in the length of the cycle. Either is normal. Abnormal bleeding symptoms are when we bleed more than a pad an hour. This can cause anemia and is not a normal symptom of menopause. It is not normal to bleed between periods or to bleed longer than 8-10 days. All of these should be brought to your medical provider’s attention.Hormonal chaos leads to night sweats and hot flashes. These are perceived usually around the scalp and face. The heat rises quickly and is followed by a soaking sweat. This cools us down. Usually the entire cycle is just a few minutes but can last up to half an hour. In the genital area there are estrogen receptors in the vagina, vulva and bladder. Reductions in estrogen can cause thinning of the vaginal tissues, known as atrophy, which reduces the elasticity of the vagina and can cause pain with intercourse. Reduced estrogen to the bladder and urethra can lead to irritable bladder symptoms, the urge to go frequently and the loss of small amounts of urine with cough or sneeze. Many women experience cognitive or memory changes. Research tells us that although there may be a plateau in cognitive function, it will improve again as menopause calms down in 3-5 years. Women who have estrogen therapy do not experience these cognitive changes if they begin estrogen in the 50’s or within 10 years of the onset of menopause. Some women complain of hair loss. It is true that any major hormone change, surgery, illness or fever can lead to temporary hair loss. All other menopausal symptoms are either relatively mild or treatable. Most women notice menopausal symptoms without needing to treat them but some women need more help and support. Seek it. It is there for you.Thanks for watching and for more information visit us online at About.com.