Are You Going Through “The Change”?: Signs of Menopause

Menopause .. Is being stupid a natural part of being a MAN ?? ...item 3..  County commissioners trade barbs over tax district plans - discrimination and “apartheid.” The Reverend Bill Proctor (Oct 10, 2012) ...
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A woman’s life is one of transitions.  The transition from childhood to adolescence, where pads and tampons become a monthly habit (or, let’s be honest, a monthly nuisance); from adolescence to womanhood, where family and career take precedence; and from womanhood to being a golden gal, where spoiling grandkids takes precedence. 😉  However, the last transition, that dreaded transition into menopause, is one that we’ve heard horror stories about but might not really know how to recognize when we’re going through “the change”.

We’ve all seen those cheesy videos from the 70’s (or even 50’s) that explained the changes we’d be going through, physically, hormonally, and emotionally, when entering adolescence.  But who ever teaches us about that other life change?  Most, if not all of us, will be out of school by then so any knowledge of menopause  mainly comes from the word-of-mouth of other women who are going through the change.

So let’s start with the basics.  By definition, menopause is when a woman has not had a period for at least 12 months.  So if you go for 10 months without a period but then get a light period, the count starts all over again.  Do not pass go; do not collect $200.  Menopausal symptoms can be of a wide variety, from the obvious (i.e. less frequent periods) to the vague (i.e. insomnia). Symptoms of menopause include but are not limited to:

  • hot flashes
  • changing emotions (anxiety, depression, irritability)
  • vaginal dryness and/or atrophy
  • decreased sex drive
  • headaches
  • heart palpitations (a stronger or irregular heartbeat)
  • night sweats
  • pain with intercourse
  • vaginal itching or burning
  • urinary changes (increased frequency or waking up to urinate)
  • fatigue
  • weight changes
  • cognitive difficulties
  • backaches
  • hair and skin changes
  • joint pain
  • change in menses

Since these symptoms can mimic actual diseases (anywhere from hypothyroidism to cancer), it is always a good idea to see your doctor for evaluation.  And don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions about future complications, like how to avoid things such as osteoporosis, which is a preventable effect of menopause.  Finally, naturopathic doctors can be great resources for helping to ease that transition to being a golden gal 🙂

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