There’s no real way to predict the age at which you’ll reach the time of “the change.” All the old myths, such as being able to tell by the age when your mother was menopausal or by the age you were when you got your first period, don’t really hold up to science. The only thing that doctors know for sure about menopause is that smoking as well as chemotherapy and certain surgeries bring it on faster, and that reaching menopause before age 45 is unusual unless you have one of those factors. Even knowing that, many women worry about getting early menopause or wonder how they’ll be able to recognize the symptoms, which can seem like a long list of very vague things associated with many different diseases, or just with life. How can you be sure it’s menopause? You can start with these signs.
1. You’re Always Tired but You Can’t Sleep
Many people don’t take the idea of fatigue seriously as a medical symptom. Chronic fatigue means much more than feeling tired. It’s an overwhelming feeling of weakness and lack of energy that affects your work and home life. Menopausal women often experience sudden episodes of fatigue, accompanied by disorientation or difficulty concentrating. And the crazy thing is, menopause can also keep you awake at night. It will usually double your rate of insomnia, either because night sweats wake you up or just because of the change in hormone levels.
2. Uncontrollable Mood Swings
You might have experienced the mood swings associated with PMS before, but mood swings during menopause can make those look like nothing. Menopause will leave you irritable, depressed, and even panicked. Your hormone levels are going wild, and this can produce all kinds of unnatural emotions, which can make you feel out of control. If you don’t feel like yourself, you may want to consider it’s the direct result of physical changes in your body.
3. Sex is Uncomfortable
It’s sad to say, but one of the easiest ways to recognize menopause is through the changes that start happening to your vagina. When you start to lose elasticity and some of your natural lubrication, sex becomes uncomfortable or painful. It can even result in bleeding or a general burning sensation. It’s little wonder that you can also experience loss of libido. Around 60 percent of women have this problem at some point in their transition to post-menopausal life.
4. Weight Gain
In menopause, it can also be considered a shift of weight. It can seem like all of your fat as suddenly traveled to the middle of your body. Doctors know that when people age, their metabolism naturally slows down, but hormone levels can affect weight gain in ways that they’re only just beginning to understand. If your weight gain happens suddenly, it can be connected to menopause.
So what can you do? You should start by getting a blood test to diagnose your hormone levels. Not only will this determine if you are menopausal, it will also let you know where to begin in trying to balance your hormones. You can talk to your doctor about medications to treat your specific menopausal symptoms. Around 30 percent of women go through menopause with zero symptoms, but chances are you will experience at least a few. They might sound dire, but you will benefit from knowing what’s really going on in your body.
Kelly Rhodes writes for health sites. If you’re concerned about your health, check out more information on cheap lab work in slc.