Menopause is a natural process that happens when you go at least one year without having your period. Women in their 40s and 50s tend to go through menopause, although it can occur earlier in some individuals. Keep in mind that in the years before this happens, known as perimenopause, you might have certain menopause symptoms.
Symptoms of Menopause
The symptoms of menopause differ for each person. You might only experience a few of these, or you might have several of them. These symptoms also vary in terms of how severe or frequent they are. Common symptoms that you might have leading up to menopause include the following:
Changes in your hormone levels can lead to changes that affect your menstrual cycle. Your periods might become irregular, such as occurring more or less often than usual. You might also have changes in how heavy or light your period is. In addition to these changes, you might also have vaginal dryness.
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause certain physical symptoms to occur. You might experience hot flashes from time to time or get chills. Other physical symptoms that can occur include weight gain, dry skin and hair thinning. You might also have night sweats.
Menopause can also have an impact on your mood. You might experience mood swings or feel more anxious or depressed. If you have sleep problems during menopause, these can put you at a higher risk of having mood changes.
When to See Your Doctor
You should continue to go for regular gynecology exams as you get older. As your body approaches menopause, it goes through many changes, such as decreases in estrogen levels. Your gynecologist can check for any reproductive health issues that might need to be treated. You can also see your gynecologist if symptoms of menopause are making you uncomfortable, such as persistent trouble sleeping or frequent hot flashes.