Your period is hit or miss, and you wake up some nights drenched. Some days you’re sure this is menopause, while other days, you feel perfectly fine. Like puberty, menopause isn’t a linear change that happens on a timeline. No two women experience it the same — and the length of time you go through menopause isn’t exact.
As your body slows down hormone production and you begin to run out of eggs, several symptoms arise. We’ve put together common menopause symptoms that many women experience. Joylux offers a free menopause quiz to learn more about your symptoms, and whether you’re experiencing menopause. Knowing about these changes can help you better prepare for menopause.
What are the most common changes during menopause?
Though women experience numerous symptoms related to their intimate wellness during menopause, these are the most common ones. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider. They can help create an action plan to support your body as you transition.
This is among the earliest and most common perimenopausal symptoms. Irregular is anything strayed from your normal monthly period that lasts several months. This could include spotting between periods, abnormally heavy or light bleeding, dark blood, or shortened cycles. As your hormones fluctuate, the shifts can affect ovulation, cause thinning of the uterine lining or excess uterine thickness.
You may notice your body becoming dry everywhere. Your skin feels less plump. Your hair and nails feel brittle, and you may even experience hair loss. Additionally, lower estrogen levels may cause symptoms related to vaginal wellness during menopause. These can include vulvar tissue and vaginal lining becoming thinner, drier, and less elastic. This condition is known as "vulvovaginal atrophy." During menopause, both estrogen and collagen levels decrease, which causes a shift in natural moisture levels.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
You won’t miss it when you have a hot flash, though they don’t happen to everyone. These sudden heat surges can cause skin burning, face flushing, and sweating. They may happen when a sudden drop in estrogen levels triggers the part of your brain that functions as your internal thermometer.
Remember the emotions during puberty? They may come flooding back. It’s not uncommon to feel irritable, sad, unmotivated, anxious, irritable, aggressive, exhausted, panicky, or tense. You may also be more at risk for depression during menopause, especially if you’ve had a history of it. This happens because the loss of estrogen may affect how your body manages serotonin and norepinephrine, which directly relate to mood disorders.
Changes in Sexual Desire
Your sexual appetite is driven by brain function, hormones, learned behavior, and motivation. Some women feel a little more frisky during menopause, while others feel turned off. This happens for several reasons and is something you should stay open about with your partner and your medical care provider.
You may notice you leak a little (or a lot) at the most inopportune times. As estrogen levels decrease, the lining of the urethra thins, and your pelvic muscles may relax or weaken. When your pelvic organs don’t get as much support, you can lose urine even if you feel like your bladder is empty.
What should I do if I notice any of these symptoms of menopause?
Don’t panic, and don’t stay silent. Menopause is often portrayed as doom and gloom. But these years can be one of the most wonderful times in your life. The best thing to do is stay open and communicate often.
Let your partner and family know what you are experiencing. Then, schedule a check-up with your wellness provider. They can guide your next steps and refer you to any specialists to support your body and mind during your transition.