If menopause hits prior to the 40’s it is considered premature menopause.
Once menopause starts, you cannot stop it except for intense hormone therapy, which is not healthy. For several years prior to full-blown menopause, you will go through a period called peri menopause and will experience menopause symptoms.
Below are descriptions of a few of those symptoms and tips on dealing with them.
Unfortunately, especially for those who have battled belly fat, early signs are gaining more in the mid section.
When the hormones start to fluctuate, it affects the metabolism. The metabolism starts to slow down and the weight piles on easier.
This weight gain is a normal part of the process, and when the hormones first go out of balance, the body does not burn the fat as fast. Specifically the reproductive hormone levels start to drop.
If a woman was overweight to begin, her estrogen levels were higher than normal because estrogen stores in the fat cells.
When the estrogen levels fall, the body attempts to keep them by producing more fat cells. Progesterone also falls off, and progesterone is responsible for pepping the metabolism. Progesterone levels wane, the metabolism declines, and more fat cells are produced.
The decline in hormones causes a cycle the body reacts to in attempt to deal with the decline in hormone levels. So one of the early menopause symptoms are weight gain, particularly in the abdomen.
Natural hormone therapy, using progesterone cream, will help to balance the hormones. Eating right and exercise will also help.
For a woman who has slept well her whole life, suddenly finding she is having problems going to sleep and staying asleep is a sure sign she is in peri menopause. Sometimes the insomnia may occur up to seven years prior to actual menopause.
The hormones cause these sleep issues. Sometimes the sleep disturbances will be the inability to relax enough to fall asleep, other times it may be the inability to stay asleep. Knowing it is a hormonal imbalance helps to treat the insomnia.
Treat it with natural hormones, like over the counter progesterone cream, and take measures to help to have a restful sleep, such as a warm bath, cool room, and avoid things that tend to keep you stimulated like caffeine or certain foods.
Hot Flashes Can be a Sign of Early Menopause
Oh yes, those hot flashes that plague women in the height of menopause also hits women in early menopause. Most women will experience them.
Only around 15% manage to skate by without the need to fan them.
A hot flash will start in the chest or back and will fan outward, like a heat wave moving through the body. You will feel an intense heat and will want to take measures to cool off. The skin becomes hot to the touch.
Normally when they hit, the body will perspire in an attempt to cool down. (Another sign of menopause.) Then, as quickly as the heat slams you, you may feel chilled, showing the body worked in getting rid of the heat.
Learn how to cope with these symptoms of hot flashes by taking care of your health.
Keeping the immune system beefed up and the metabolism strong will help to reduce the hot flashes. As with every other symptom, balancing the hormones will also help.
Wear clothing that allows the skin to breathe, like cotton fabrics, and try to keep calm. Becoming agitated will heat the skin bringing on a hot flash.
Caffeine is not your friend now, cutting back on that will help as well. If you feel a hot flash coming on, rinse hands and face with cold water.
Because of the issues with the hormonal imbalance, infertility is prevalent. Infertility is the inability to become pregnant.
Women can become pregnant in early menopause, but it is not that common. While the body is still functioning as if it can conceive, by having menstrual periods, conception is difficult at this stage.
It is possible that the cycles are becoming more irregular too by this point. Many women are waiting until later in life to conceive, and they find by this point they need help from a reproductive endocrinologist to help.
Menopause Bleeding and Irregular Cycles
Obviously, the one thing that changes with menopause, are the cycles.
When you enter peri menopause you will start having irregular cycles. They may come earlier, like every three weeks or so. Alternatively, they may space out, coming every 5 to 8 weeks. They may be longer, like a weeklong bleeding. On the other hand, they may be 2 or 3 days of spotting.
In other words, they will start doing what is not normal for you. If you had normal cycles of 28 days, and 5 days of bleeding, then you will see a change from that. The cause, of course, is the hormones.
Learning why irregular cycles are part of the early menopause symptoms will help to understand what is going on in your body.
If you chart your fertility signs, you can also receive a good look at what the hormones are doing.
If you see a lot of heavier bleeding than normal, you can assume your progesterone levels have dropped. On the other hand, lighter bleeding cycles are indicative of an estrogen drop. If the cycles are coming closer together, this also shows a drop in estrogens and a rise in FSH.
This is the body’s last attempt at maturing eggs faster. The further into menopause you get, the lower the estrogen and the higher the FSH will become.
You may have noticed that during certain times of the month, normally the week prior to the start of the menstrual cycle you may have suffered from headaches. These are signs of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) and primarily caused by a raise in the progesterone and a decline in the estrogen levels. Some people refer to them as a hormone headache. They are actually a type of migraine.
Some women suffer greatly with these each month and have to take medications to help deal with the pain. The headaches that occur during pre-menopause could be partially because of low progesterone, but they are also from low estrogen levels.
Caution is advised in taking hormone therapy, in particular estrogen. Although the early menopause symptoms cause headaches from the declining hormones, taking hormones, in particular estrogen may make the headaches worse.
Contrarily, the use of natural progesterone will aid the body in naturally balancing the hormones and may help to ease the headache pain.
If the headaches will not go away with the use of natural progesterone, or the aid of over-the-counter headache medications, you should see your physician for further help.
Declining estrogen levels causes the tissues in the vagina to dry out and loose elasticity. A dry vagina causes painful sexual intercourse.
A dry vagina becomes sore and irritated, and if not properly lubed, can set up for infections.
The vagina is a self-lubricating organ; normally the environment is very moist. It becomes moister during sexual intercourse, and this is due to higher estrogen levels.
When the levels drop and the vagina starts to dry out and lose elasticity, it can start to atrophy, meaning it shrinks. Take heart, vaginal dryness is very easy to treat.
First, balancing the hormones will help to keep the vagina moist. Remember natural progesterone cream we talked about above? One of the areas it helps is to balance the estrogen, so it helps the vagina to stay moist and elastic.
Alternatively, you can see your physician for vaginal suppositories with hormone or a hormone ring.
Both are easy to use, and they affect locally.
There are other ways to help fight the early menopause symptoms of a dry vagina.
Use a vaginal lubricant to help keep the vagina moist, particularly during sexual intercourse.
Ironically, having sex, enjoying sex, helps to keep the vagina from drying out.
You may need a bit of vaginal lubricant to get started, but once you start, it should be okay.
Do not wait too long between having sexual intercourse (if possible). Avoid using soaps and detergents that are drying to the skin.
Wear cotton underwear, so the gentiles can breathe. Decongestants also dry up the body’s fluids.
With the onset of vaginal atrophy, the bladder and muscles surrounding it will become lax due to the decline in the reproductive hormones.
You may feel the urge to use the restroom more often. It may be an urge that feels like a full bladder, but really is not full. You may find that you will leak urine if you laugh, sneeze, or cough.
The reason this occurs is that this is the same type of tissue and the same area as the vagina. When one starts to show signs of atrophy, the other will as well. The urethra has a lining that thins out once estrogen levels drop.
What can you do about these very embarrassing early menopause symptoms? Muscles control the bladder. If the muscles are worked out, they will be stronger.
So do Kegel exercises to help strengthen them. Kegels will help to stop the leaking if you cough, sneeze, or laugh.
This is not something you do just a couple of times then it is fixed. You have to continue to work these, every single day. Just squeeze the vaginal area, much as you do when you stop the flow of urine while urinating. Do this for a couple of minutes each day as a good “vaginal area” work out, and you can do it during intercourse, which will increase the pleasure as an added bonus.
Dealing With Early Menopause Symptoms
Menopause is inevitable. You can do nothing to stop the course of nature, but there are things you can do to ease through it.
Some women are lucky and never have a single symptom. They just one day no longer have menstrual cycles. They are healthy, they eat right, and they exercise. They take nutritional supplements and live a healthy lifestyle.
Chances are their hormones, though they changed, they stayed in a normal balance. That is the key. Diet and exercise helps to maintain a healthy balance in the endocrine system. Natural progesterone cream along with other herbs and vitamins also helps to deal with unpleasant side effects.
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