Many women look forward to the day when their menstrual cycle is no more. But when that day finally comes, the hormone changes your body goes through can zap your energy, disrupt your sleep, plague you with hot flashes, cause mood swings and even make you gain weight!
In the United States, the average age for a woman to hit menopause or start experiencing these symptoms is 51. Although it is very rare, there have even been some cases of women in their mid-30s going through pre-menopausal symptoms. Other women won't experience symptoms until their mid- to late-50s.
At Reid Hospital, we provide you with health information for every stage in life. That's why we've pulled together a list of common signs and symptoms many women going through menopause face, as well as different remedies and treatments you can try.
Signs & Symptoms of Menopause
Because hormonal changes affect every woman differently, you may experience some or all of these symptoms:
- Irregular periods
- Decreased fertility
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
- Increased abdominal fat
- Thinning hair
- Loss of breast fullness
Home Remedies & Treatments
You can also try some home treatments to reduce or prevent symptoms.
- Dress in layers and pinpoint triggers of hot flashes such as hot beverages and spicy foods.
- Avoid caffeine and plan to exercise during the day - not right before bedtime.
- Improve urinary incontinence with Kegel exercises.
- Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Aim for 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D a day.
- Stop smoking.
- Exercise regularly - at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity.
- Schedule regular checkups.
Medical Remedies & Treatments
While menopause is a very natural thing for your body to go through, there are many remedies available that can help you find relief from some of the symptoms you may experience.
- Hormone therapy
- Low-dose antidepressants
- Gabapentin/Neurontin (reduces hot flashes)
- Bisphosphonates (helps prevent bone loss and osteoporosis)
- Selective estrogen receptor modulators (mimics estrogen's beneficial effects on bone density)
- Vaginal estrogen (relieves vaginal dryness and some urinary symptoms)
Before starting any treatment, talk to your doctor about your options and the benefits and risks involved with each. For more information, contact your Reid Family Care Physician or Find a Physician accepting new patients on our website.