Menopause and Perimenopause
The first sign that you are nearing menopause is a change in your menstrual periods. They may become less frequent. And they may be lighter or heavier than you're used to.
Menopause symptoms range from mild (or none) to severe. They include:
- Reference Hot flashes Opens New Window.
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia).
- Emotional changes, such as mood swings or irritability.
- A change in sexual interest or response.
- Problems with concentration and memory that are linked to sleep loss and fluctuating hormones (not a permanent sign of aging).
- Rapid, irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations).
These symptoms usually go away after 1 or 2 years. But some women have them for several years longer.
Reference Other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Examples include pregnancy; a significant change in weight; depression; anxiety; or uterine, thyroid, or pituitary problems.
Menopause caused by surgery, Reference chemotherapy Opens New Window, or Reference radiation therapy Opens New Window can cause more severe symptoms than usual. Preexisting conditions such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, or irritability can also make symptoms worse.
After you stop having menstrual periods, you may get other symptoms, including:
- Drying and thinning of the skin, caused by lower Reference collagen Opens New Window production.
- Vaginal and urinary
tract changes, such as:
- Vaginal dryness, irritation, and itching.
- An increased risk of vaginal and Reference urinary tract infections (UTIs) Opens New Window.
- Pain with sexual activity.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 26, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine