Your body goes through significant changes as you age, and of course, menopause is one of them. While you may not be thrilled about your shifting hormones and incoming hot flushes, there’s one thing for sure — it’s always best to know what’s going on than to be thrust into the throes of menopause with no warning at all.
Ladies it’s never too early to know what’s in store, so listen up. Here are the signs menopause is about to begin.
- Your periods are shorter, longer, or changing completely. There’s a special name for the time right before your reach menopause and that’s perimenopause. Unfortunately, this time comes with a lot of unpredictability — especially when it comes to your menstrual cycle. You may start to develop irregular periods, which can result in a heavier flow some months. On the other hand, you might go through months of light bleeding leading up to menopause, or you could skip a few periods altogether. So expect the unexpected during this time. The closer you get to reaching menopause, the more unpredictable your periods will become
The average age to reach menopause is 51/52 and this is confirmed when you have gone 12 consecutive months without having a period. If you are under this age, then the medical profession advises 24 consecutive months period free, before menopause is confirmed. Following this, you will be post menopause, our hormones are now at an all-time low and will never increase again naturally. You will now be post menopause for the rest of your life
- Your sex drive is nowhere to be found. If you had a healthy sex drive before perimenopause, then you may not have to worry about this unwanted symptom. However, many women experience a decrease in their interest in sex once their hormones start to change. it’s the natural drop in progesterone and change in testosterone that’s responsible for the sudden shift.
If this symptom is affecting your life severely, then we recommend talking to your doctor for help.
- Your PMS symptoms are the worst they’ve ever been. If you’ve always suffered from severe PMS symptoms, then matters may get even worse during the time leading up to menopause.. Essentially, PMS symptoms occur when your levels of progesterone drop below your levels of oestrogen. This means those mood swings and weird food cravings you had in your youth may be amplified in your 40s.
It’s not all bad, though — eating plenty of protein, cutting down (or out!) the sugar, and lowering your stress levels can help.
- Your sleep is out of sync. There are a lot of reasons you may be waking up tired, despite your best efforts of trying to get a full eight hours of sleep. When you first start menopause, you’re likely to experience many sleep disturbances. You might feel totally unable to fall asleep, or you may be more likely to wake up drenched in sweat from a hot flush.
To combat these uncomfortable symptoms, try doing some moderate exercise during the week, and always skip the coffee and alcohol before bed.
- You’re suddenly sweating. Ah, yes, hot flushes, the hallmark of menopause. You (and so many other women) probably know about this uncomfortable and extremely common symptom of menopause. Hot flushes can occur during perimenopause and post menopause. They typically last between one and five minutes, and some women can get them up to 10 times a day.
While you may not be able to avoid hot flushes completely, certain things like stress, caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, and cigarette smoke can trigger them more often.
- You may develop vaginal or bladder issues. Here’s another uncomfortable symptom you’re surely not looking forward to. As your oestrogen levels lower, it can actually make intercourse more painful because your vaginal tissue loses lubrication and elasticity. This can also lead to urinary incontinence or infections involving your bladder.
One thing that can help this is to continue having sexual intercourse as menopause progresses. This helps keep the tissue healthy. However, don’t be surprised if you find your libido has up and left!
Remember, there’s still a slight chance you can get pregnant. Menopause may be on its way, but that doesn’t mean you should totally ditch contraception just yet. Your chances of becoming pregnant decrease as perimenopause begins, but birth control is still recommended. As long as you’re having periods, you can still get pregnant, and if you are on hormonal birth control, it can also help with those pesky hot flushes and irregular periods you may experience.