October 25, 2014
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Menopause

 Health Home >> Menopause >> Overview of menopause 


Menopause symptoms

Each woman's experience is unique. The symptom most often associated with the beginning of menopause is hot flashes. It's one of what doctors call vasomotor symptoms - symptoms that involve the blood vessels

Although vasomotor symptoms are very common, doctors still don't know the exact cause, though they're believed to be related to the fluctuations in hormone levels. Vasomotor symptoms are usually worst during perimenopause, then decline in the first few years after menopause. They usually last for 2 years; however, for some women, they may last decades. You may experience the following vasomotor symptoms:

  • hot flashes
  • night sweats
  • sleep problems
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • anxiety
  • palpitations (pounding or racing heartbeat)
  • fatigue (secondary)
  • memory problems (secondary)
  • mood changes or irritability (secondary)

Some women breeze through this time of their life, while for others, these symptoms can severely disrupt sleep, work, and family life.

Urogenital symptoms are related to urogenital aging, which is caused by lower estrogen levels after menopause and general aging of bodily tissues. These symptoms tend to develop in the years and decades after menopause, and they can get worse over time if they are not treated:

These symptoms can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and painful, and they can put a damper on your sex life. These symptoms, combined with a decrease in sexual desire (which is also common at this time), may cause strain on your relationship with your partner.

If you have these symptoms, it's normal to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about discussing them. But you're not alone and help is available. Speak to your doctor to find out how you can manage your symptoms.

For tips on talking to your partner, see "You and your partner."


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