There are many physical and mental challenges a woman goes through during menopause. A lot of the symptoms are a result of the domino effect of one symptom leading to other symptoms.
The top 15 symptoms of menopause, include hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings.
Below is the detailed list explaining the physical and mental symptoms of menopause and what you can do to manage them
1. Hot flashes
A woman experiencing hot flashes feels as though her face, neck and chest are on burning/ heat in those regions of the body
Sweating profusely – especially on the upper body
Red blotchy skin
Heart beating faster than normal
Feeling cold suddenly after the temperature subsides
The root cause of hot flashes has not been understood completely. But it is known to be caused by hormonal imbalance. Hormones are required to control the body’s temperature control system/ thermostat.
Imbalance of hormones = Imbalance of body temperature.
Manage hot flashes:
Dressing in layers- You take off and put back on to feel comfortable at different environment temperatures
Avoiding caffeine, spicy food and alcohol
Practice deep breathing
2. Disturbed sleep
Sleep disruptions are common among women going through menopause. Lack of proper rest can make one feel exhausted, irritable and moody.
Hot flashes can reduce the quality and quantity of sleep too.
Manage insomnia by:
Sleeping in a cool, dark and well-ventilated bedroom
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
Wearing comfortable cotton clothing/ breathable fabric
Not taking naps during the day
Sleeping with an empty bladder
3. Weight gain
Hormonal imbalance affects your body’s metabolism/ body becomes less efficient in burning fat or calories consumed. This causes one to gain weight.
How to manage weight:
Have a balanced diet by consuming less carbs and fat in the diet.
Consuming more proteins and fiber
4. Leaky urinary bladder
Uncontrolled leakage of urine out of the bladder when not using the restroom.
This is caused because of a less amount of estrogen in the body. Estrogen is required to keep the urinary bladder muscles healthy and contain the urine inside the bladder.
Less estrogen = weaker urinary bladder muscles = urine leakage when laughing, sneezing or coughing
One can also develop urinary tract infections.
Manage a leaky bladder by:
Avoiding diuretic beverages/ beverages that make you want to urinate frequently. Beverages include- Citrus juices, caffeinated beverages and alcohol
Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that prevent urine leakage.
5. Joint pain – Bones become weak
Women feel weak, legs feel sore and hips feel tight. Feel tired very easily.
Estrogen is required to protect joints from damage.
Less estrogen = weaker joints
Manage Joint pain by:
Increase intake of Calcium, Vitamin D and Magnesium in the diet. Up your intake of green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds.
Take Vitamin D and Calcium supplements
Stretching and physical activity can reduce pain and swelling.
6. Sore breasts
Less estrogen = less healthy breast tissue. Making breasts more sensitive.
Manage sore breasts by:
Wear a bra that fits well and supports your breasts properly
Apply warm compress
Estrogen is required to produce natural skin oils and keep skin moist.
When estrogen amount less =No natural oils and dryness= Skin feels itchy all the time
Manage skin dryness by:
Applying moisturizers and oils to keep skin moist and supplement to the diet.
8. Dryness in the vagina
Estrogen is required to make the vagina produce a jelly like substance to keep the vagina healthy.
Less estrogen = dry vagina.
This makes sexual intercourse unpleasant.
Manage vaginal dryness by:
Regular sexual stimulation also help maintain elasticity.
9. Thinning of hair on the head
Estrogen and progesterone are required for rapid growth of hair. When the amount of these hormones reduce in the body, the hair follicles shrink to result in hair loss.
Reduce hair thinning by:
Increasing protein intake
Adding protein, vitamin and mineral supplements to the diet
Avoid hair products with harsh chemicals
10. Digestive problems
When going through menopause – Less estrogen = more stress hormone cortisol. More cortisol = makes digesting food difficult= bloating, constipation and stomach pain
Manage digestive issues by:
Chewing food properly
Include more fermented foods in your diet like yoghurt
11. Irregular periods
This sign appears in the early stages of menopause. It is one of the first visible signs of it.
12. Uterine bleeding
It is normal and happens from time to time. It is normal to notice this around menopause.
Periods are heavy and frequent. They can start and stop all of a sudden.
You should consult a doctor if you soak up multiple pads in a short duration or you bleed between two cycles, you have shorter cycles or bleed during intercourse.
13. Forget fullness
Less estrogen = memory loss/ forget fullness
Estrogen is required by the brain to make special brain chemicals for good memory.
Manage memory problems by:
Consuming Omega 3 fatty acids rich foods like salmon (fish)
Adding an Omega 3 supplement like Cod liver oil to the diet
Consuming chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts
14. Difficulty in focusing
It is seen in the early stages of menopause. It can become worse with poor sleep and mood swings.
Less estrogen and progesterone = problems with focus
Manage memory issues by:
Keeping a reminder notebook handy
Use google calendars to set reminders
Leave sticky notes around the house
Adding nuts and seeds to the diet
Estrogen is required to make happy hormone/ serotonin in the brain.
Less estrogen = less serotonin= blues/ feeling low
Remedies for depression:
Exercising causes the brain to make happy hormone serotonin to boost mood and energy
Seek the help of a therapist/ support group to help you
16. Less interest in sex (low libido)
Decline in sex drive/ desire to have sex. Women many not feel as warm towards their partner. Decrease in sexual responsiveness and frequency of intercourse.
Treating low libido:
Having an open conversation with your partner about your expectations and needs.
Consulting a sex therapist.