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Would You Recognize the Signs of Menopause?

by Holly Osterman on July 19, 2012

You know it’s coming. But even when the signs of menopause are right in front of you, sometimes it can be difficult to see them clearly. And to accept that the change is on the way. After all, you’re too young for menopause. Or you’re too busy. You’ve got a career, the kids are getting older, and your husband wants all of your attention. Even though you know it’s inevitable, you just don’t have the energy for this new stage in your life.

So how will you know when menopause is around the next corner? Well, unfortunately, symptoms can be different for all women and really depend on a lot of factors, including your age, family history and health. But there are a few signs of menopause you might experience at one point in your journey:

Irregular Periods. This is the first and most common of all menopause symptoms. There can certainly be other causes for irregular periods, such as pregnancy, eating disorders, stress, illness and side effects from medication. So, track your cycle. Keeping a record of your periods, how long they last, and how often they occur can help you recognize important patterns. And you’ll be better prepared to answer the first question your doctor always asks: “When was your last period?”

Vaginal Dryness.  Yes, really. Dryness can be painful and uncomfortable, but there are many products on the market that can help you manage. Don’t suffer unnecessarily.

Mood Swings and Irritability. Surely, not with your sunny disposition, right? Changing hormones can trigger wild mood swings at the worst possible times. And if the rest of your family is getting ready to vote you off the island, at least you can blame it on menopause.

Hot Flashes. The first time it happens, you’ll feel like you’re getting run over by a freight train. You get hot, sweaty and completely flabbergasted. All in a matter of seconds. While hot flashes don’t last forever, it seems a lot longer in the moment.

Night Sweats and Poor Sleep. The PM version of hot flashes, night sweats can be extremely uncomfortable and happen several times during a night. Worse yet, lack of sleep can also fuel other symptoms and impact both your mood and memory.

Loss of Focus. You’re going to misplace things, forget why you came into a room and lose your train of thought. Menopause symptoms can often be related. If you’re not sleeping well and are coping with hot flashes, for example, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to focus on what’s in front of you.

Even though you may not be ready to face the signs of menopause, you can’t ignore the changes that are happening to your body. That change is going to happen, so be prepared. It’s more important now than ever that you take care of yourself, talk to your doctor and look for answers.  And if you’re not sure where to turn, feel free to ask questions, share your story, and connect with other women in our menopause forum.

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