As a woman ages she will naturally experience menopause. Menopause marks the changes every woman will go through around the time that she stops menstruating. It indicates the end of the reproductive period in her life, and her ovaries will stop producing progesterone and estrogen. Usually menopause will begin sometime after 40, but if it comes on before the age of 40 it is known as premature menopause. Premature menopause could be the consequence of damaged ovaries, chemotherapy, or a hysterectomy.
When a woman goes through menopause she should be able to tell with some degree of ease, because the symptoms of menopause are fairly obvious. For some people menopause happens quite smoothly without too much unpleasantness or any complications. For some women, however, menopause can be a very difficult period and in some cases it may even become quite debilitation. These struggles may begin as early as premenopause and it could last the duration of years. A lowered production of estrogen and progesterone acts as something of an initiator for most symptoms a woman will experience. These hormones both play important roles in many different functions in a woman's body.
Estrogen is at work in many areas, including the brain, pelvic muscles, mucous membranes, hair, skin, breasts, bones, blood vessels, heart, urinary tract, and of course the reproductive system. Because estrogen is important in regulating so many areas it isn't surprising that the entire body can experience symptoms pertaining to menopause.
The most renowned and common symptom of menopause is hot flashes. The majority of women who are going through premenopause will experience hot flashes. Specific hot flash symptoms will depend on each individual woman. A hot flash is a feeling of great warmth which may last 30 seconds or several minutes. It is also common to experience an increase in pulse and skin temperature, strong heart beat, and reddened skin.
Another important and tell-tale sign of menopause is changes in the menstrual cycle. This often means irregular periods that include bleeding that is lighter or heavier than normal. Periods may also last longer or shorter than they used to. If you haven't had your period for a year but you start spotting, it may indicate a serious condition and you should see a doctor.
Estrogen affects the vaginal lining so women may experience vaginal changes. This could result in dryness or change in vaginal discharge as well as pain during intercourse, particularly for premenopausal women. Loss of libido is also common.
Frequent urination, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections are also common symptoms of menopause. Women may not have control over their bladder or experience a frequent need to urinate. Mood swings are another common and unpleasant symptom which accompanies menopause Women may also experience fatigue, hair loss or thinning, changes in the shape of breasts, insomnia and sleep disorders, trouble concentrating, weight gain, allergies, brittle nails, joint pain, headaches, burning tongue, tingling or itching, and muscle tension. Ultimately there are many ways that menopause may manifest itself and because every woman is unique it may be different for every individual.