The signs of menopause begin before the actually onset of menopause. Women in their 30s may experience hot flashes and irregular periods. By the time a woman is in her 40s, she will begin the menopausal transition, which is called perimenopause.
It is important that women understand the changes in their body, for the changes can lead to osteoporosis, heart disease as well as other conditions. Being well-informed is the first step in managing the aging process.
Menopause is the name for the end of menstruation and the end of the ability to conceive. The average age for menopause is 44 to 56. It is a natural process that all women go through, some easier than others. Hormonal changes can cause physical symptoms that are uncomfortable, frustrating, and scary for the women who do not understand the changes occurring in their bodies.
Because so many women have been misdiagnosed when they complained of menopausal symptoms, a group of women created a list called 34 Signs of Menopause. This list has been available for awhile. The goal of the group is to see that every doctor has the list and makes it available to all women who need it. The names of the creators of the list are as follows:
Lucy L. Brown, Ph.D., Judy Bayliss, Krista Glickman, Susan Jessen, Betty Clark, Susan Klee, Susan Ariew, Graciela Spivak, Jennifer Hesketh Aviles, Christine Cody, Jean Bauer, Bonnie Dreps Voigtlander, Keri Webb, Joan Starker,Roberta J. Leon and Miriam Biddelman.
The list is easier to read and comprehend when divided into subsections. Femhealth.net has divided the symptoms into five categories: common symptoms, changes, feelings, pain, and other symptoms.
The common symptoms are hot flashes, loss of libido, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and irregular periods.
Changes involve the mental and physical changes in the body such as fatigue and weight gain. Feelings are mood swings, depression, and a sense of dread. Pain include headaches, breast tenderness, and the onset of osteoporosis. Other symptoms includes items that do not fit into the first four categories.
Some symptoms can lead to more serious health issues, if they are not treated. Symptom 8, which is vaginal dryness that can lead to painful intercourse if not treated. Symptom 11, which is feelings of dread and doom can lead to thoughts of death. Symptom 30, which is tingling in the extremities, may be caused by a lack of vitamin B-12, the onset of diabetes, and depletion of calcium.
The benefits of the list are important. It provides information to women as well as comfort, knowing that these are common symptoms. The list also provides women with information to help make appropriate decisions about treatment. Whether the choices are herbs, HRT (hormone replacement therapy), or vitamin supplements, the more informed woman can talk with her doctor and together make the best decision for her well-being.