First Signs of Menopause
Early Warning Signs to Avoid the Worst of the Misery
The earlier you understand the first signs of menopause, the faster you can get help. There are some natural remedies that can easy the menopause transition. Here we explain the signs and symptoms you can expect in plain English.
So what are the early menopause signs? It may sound strange, but the first signs are often not strong enough to call symptoms. They feel more like “something is just not right.”
Additionally, the indicators are starting long before you even THINK the word “Menopause”. It all begins in your mid to late 30s, when estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decline gradually. (This is one of the reasons that many women who postpone having babies are finding it difficult to get pregnant.)
At first you may not even notice this gradual decline of your hormone levels, but after several years, the levels have dropped sufficiently to start causing the first signs of menopause.
What are the First Signs of Menopause?
- Non-cyclical PMS symptoms
- Slightly Irregular Periods
- Increasing Vaginal Dryness
- Mild Hot Flashes
- Occasional Night Sweats
- Weight Gain
Non-cyclical PMS Symptoms
PMS and menopause symptoms share the same cause – hormonal fluctuations. Women in their 40s will notice that their PMS symptoms are less connected to their menstrual cycle because the hormonal fluctuations becoming more erratic. This may or may not go together with more irregular menstrual cycles in the beginning of the peri-menopause phase.
Slightly Irregular Periods
Probably the first sign you will really notice is that your menstrual cycle is becoming less predictable. It can become shorter or longer, or even a combination of both. You can experience some months with lighter or heavier bleeding. This irregularity will gradually become more pronounced as you progress through the stages of menopause.
Estrogen keeps the vaginal lining moist and helps to produce healthy vaginal mucous. With dropping estrogen levels, you will begin to experience increasing vaginal dryness. You can use lubricants and vaginal moisturizers or talk to your doctor about vaginal estrogen.
Osteopenia is the precursor of Osteoporosis. When your estrogen levels drop, the calcium absorption into bones is negatively affected and you develop more cells that destroy bones than cells that build bones.
It is important to start weight bearing exercises and to begin taking calcium supplements to stop bone loss and prevent osteopenia. This is a silent symptom. This means that there are NO warning signs that you are loosing your bone mass. (Check the article about menopause vitamins about important information about calcium.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
Many women remember their first hot flash because it is such a peculiar sensation.
You may also wonder why you are sweating so much at night lately. When you start peri-menopause, your temperature control system is getting affected by the drop in estrogen.
This is the reason for your hot flashes and night sweats. There are some herbal remedies that can help your hot flashes and sleep hyperhidrosis (the medical term for these hot flashes at night). Click on the links for hot flashes and night sweats treatments in the right column.
Weight Gain around the Middle
You may have noticed that the waist band is getting tighter and your favorite jeans don’t fit quiet as well. The reason is the same as for the other early menopause signs – fluctuating hormone levels.
The exact role each of the hormones play is very complex. For example, recently researchers found that the amount of free testosterone is a good predictor for weight gain in menopausal women. This is despite the fact that a drop in testosterone is responsible for a slowing metabolism which is leading to weight gain.
It is very important to fight the weight. Each pound puts additional stress on joints and heart. Also the “middle age spread” puts a layer of fat around the organs which can lead to diabetes and other long-term health risks.
It is much easier to change your regular diet gradually at the first signs of menopause, than to wait until your later years when the weight has already caused some damage.
Now you know that by the time you are experiencing the first signs of menopause you are probably well on your way. The earliest symptoms just sneak up on you without warning.
But as soon as the first hot flashes hit and you wake up at night soaking wet and in panic, you realize that you have entered peri-menopause. (At least that was my experience - waking up one night and it HIT me – I’m in menopause!)
The earlier you adjust your lifestyle and adopt some healthier choices, the better you will fare, not only in the menopausal transition but for the rest of your life.
It is a good idea to start natural remedies when you experience the first signs of menopause. Some hormone balancing herbs and supplements can really help you to avoid the worst of the symptoms. Also some easy lifestyle changes are important.
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