Symptoms and Signs of Menopause

Symptoms and Signs of Menopause

Chapter 7

For women, menopause is a natural part of life as our bodies mature. Although menopause is another beautiful part of the aging process, there are symptoms and signs associated with menopause that many women struggle with. 

Below, we’ll cover what the main symptoms of menopause are, when menopause occurs, and what the main menopause treatments are. 

What Is Menopause? 

A woman has technically entered the menopause stage when she’s gone 12 consecutive months with having a period. The stage before menopause “officially begins” is referred to as perimenopause. Menopause is the time of a woman’s life when she loses her fertility. The symptoms of menopause normally start approximately four years before a woman’s last period and can continue for approximately four years afterwards. 

Menopause starts to take place as a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decline. The levels of these reproductive hormones, produced by the ovaries, will bounce around while menopause takes place until they eventually finish declining and “flatline.” With the change in these hormones, women’s bodies begin to store fat cells for energy differently, which may make it more difficult for women to lose weight and a woman’s bones become less dense, which may make them more prone to breaking. 

However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule for when women begin or stop experiencing menopause symptoms. About 1 in 10 women have menopausal symptoms for 12 years after their period ends. 

At What Age Does Menopause Take Place? 

The average age for menopause in the United States is 51, however, some women experience menopause in their 40’s while others don’t go through “the change” until they’re in their early 60’s. 

What Affects When You’ll Experience Menopause?

There’s a multitude of factors that can affect when you’ll experience menopause, but the two main factors involve your genetics and ovary health. Be sure to see your primary care doctor on a regular basis so you have a general knowledge about the health of your reproductive system. If you begin to notice changes in your system, then you’ll also be able to discuss those with your doctor and ask if they think that you’re starting to go through menopause. Having cancer or a hysterectomy can sometimes cause menopause to happen earlier than average or they can cause your symptoms to be longer or more intense. 

Talking to other female members about when they began to experience the symptoms of menopause could also help you to determine when you might begin to have menopausal symptoms. Since genetics are one of the main factors for when menopause may take place, talking to a mom, aunt, or even grandma could help you have a better understanding of when you’ll start to experience this transition. 

Some lifestyle choices, like smoking, can also play a part in the length and intensity of your symptoms. Female smokers typically have more intense symptoms. 

What Are The Main Signs Of Menopause?

Every woman has a different experience with the extent of menopause symptoms that they have. The intensity of symptoms can also dictate the length of time you’ll be experiencing menopause. Typically, women who start to experience menopause suddenly or over a shorter range of time have more intense symptoms. 

Below are several of the most common signs that you’ve begun to go through menopause. 

Physical Signs Of Menopause

  • Lack Of Menstrual Bleeding 

The lack of menstrual bleeding for a consecutive 12 months indicates that you’ve “officially” begun menopause. Before menopause begins, you may go several months without a period and then suddenly have one again. 

  • Hot Flashes

About 75% of women have “hot flashes” as they’re going through menopause. Hot flashes are a sense of intense heat in your body, but the heat isn’t being caused by anything in your external environment. At this point, it’s unclear why shifts in your hormone levels cause hot flashes, but most seem to be caused because decreased levels of estrogen cause your body’s thermostat (hypothalamus) to be more sensitive to subtle changes in your body’s overall temperature. If the hypothalamus perceives your body as being too warm, it will create a hot flash so you’ll cool down afterwards to the temperature level that the hypothalamus thinks you should be at.

The feelings of a hot flash can appear quickly or you may be able to tell that one is about to take place. A hot flash may be about to begin if you’re suddenly feeling: 

    • Tingling in your fingers
    • A quickened heartbeat
    • Sweating for no reason, especially in your upper body

There are also certain hot flash triggers that you should try to avoid if you’re prone to hot flashes. These include: 

    • Stress
    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • Spicy foods
    • Tight clothing
    • Cigarettes

The length and frequency of hot flashes can vary. Some will last for a few seconds while others will last for up to ten minutes. The average length is about four minutes. Some women may only have one hot flash a week, while others have a couple a week, and others might have a couple a day. 

  • Night Sweats

Similar to hot flashes, a majority of women have night sweats while they’re going through menopause. Night sweats are kind of hot flashes that take place while you’re sleeping. Sometimes the night sweats will manage to wake women up because they become so uncomfortable with their body temperature. 

  • Vaginal Dryness

Many women who’re going through menopause report having pain when having intercourse. One reason for this can be associated with vaginal dryness. As your hormones change, your body may not create enough natural lubricant.

  • Stiff Joints 

As the amount of estrogen in your system lowers, you can experience stiffer joints that make it more difficult to move fluidly. This shift happens because lower estrogen levels in our bodies allows for more inflammatory molecules to enter our system. 

  • Osteoporosis

Estrogen is a hormone that protects people’s bones from breaking and fissures. When it declines quickly during menopause, it can cause bone loss density. In turn, this makes women more likely to develop osteoporosis.

  • Menopause And Weight Gain

Another side effect of menopause that many women experience is weight gain. Research shows that, on average, women gain 5 pounds throughout menopause. Weight is affected during menopause because your body is experiencing shifts in your hormones. A drop of estrogen and progesterone naturally occurs as you’re going through menopause. This can make it more difficult for your body to regulate your weight.

It’s important to note that weight gain won’t happen overnight once you start menopause. Instead, the changes will take place gradually. 


Emotional Signs Of Menopause

Along with several of the physical signs that are associated with menopause, there are also several emotional implications that women can experience as they enter menopause. 

Some of these symptoms include: 

  • Insomnia - about 61% of women going through menopause will experience insomnia at some point during the process. Insomnia may take place if you take longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep or if you get less than six hours of sleep three times a week. 
  • Difficulty concentrating - oftentimes, this is associated with women who are struggling to get enough sleep during menopause. However, one study found that women who’d recently entered menopause scored lower than other women in tests that evaluated memory, motor function, and verbal learning. 
  • Anxiety - as your hormones shift, you may begin to feel anxious more often. If you’re anxious more of the time, your brain will release hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, that enter your nervous system and are meant to help you respond effectively to a threat. This can eventually contribute to weight gain after a length of time in addition to other harmful side effects. 
  • Depression - in addition to shifts in your hormones, many women are experiencing major life changes around the time that menopause begins. Women can be dealing with children leaving home or worrying about growing older. If you start to feel isolated, it's possible for depression to occur.
  • Reduced libido - some women will experience a decrease in sex drive as they go through menopause. This is also a factor of there being a drop in your hormone levels. Not all women experience this shift, and libido levels return to normal for many women as time goes on.  

It should be noted that several of the physical and emotional signs of menopause tie together. For example, if you’re experiencing hot flashes and night sweats, you’re more likely to have trouble sleeping at night. If you begin to have insomnia on a regular basis, then you’re more likely to struggle with handling high levels of stress which could lead you to have more anxiety. If your anxiety levels increase, then this could cause you to also have problems sleeping at night. 

Since so many intricate parts of our lives are connected, many women turn to menopause treatment to help them navigate their symptoms. 

Below, we’ll move through some of the natural treatments and lifestyle changes women can turn to to help them throughout menopause. 


What Lifestyle Changes Can You Make To Naturally Treat Menopause? 

If you already take multiple prescriptions on a daily basis, you may be hesitant to add another one into your system. Instead, you could try several of the natural lifestyle changes listed below. 

  • Relaxation Techniques

Performing yoga, meditation, or tai chi on a regular basis are all things that could reduce stress and help you relax. These techniques could also help you sleep better at night if you’re less stressed. 

Treats: insomnia, anxiety, depression 

  • Massages

Getting a massage will also release tension in your body, which will help to reduce stress. It will also help to alleviate stiff muscles, which will make it easier for you to go about your day and will lower feelings of frustration that are often associated with menopause. 

Treats: stiff joints, insomnia, anxiety, depression

  • Give Up Smoking

Some women who smoke during menopause are more likely to experience depression. Female smokers are also more likely to have more intense menopausal symptoms. 

Treats: depression, indirectly affects all symptoms

  • Exercise On A Regular Basis

Exercising on a regular basis will help with a large number of symptoms you could experience during menopause. Exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which are known for creating positive feelings. These endorphins can also cause you to release stress. 

By keeping your body moving through exercise, you’ll also be able to fight off the effects of stiff joints. Additionally, you should consider including some strength training in your workout routine to help you fend off a chance of developing osteoporosis. 

Last, but not least, exercising will help to prevent weight gain, something that many women experience during menopause. Menopause and weight gain can be a debilitating combination. However, including exercise in your routine will help you manage your weight. 

Treats: weight gain, osteoporosis, stiff joints, insomnia, depression, anxiety

  • Eat A Healthy Diet

Eating enough fruits and veggies will help to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with menopause because your body will be receiving the nutrients it needs to function properly. Eating a healthy diet will also help you to prevent weight gain. 

Additionally, if your doctor suspects that you may be at risk for developing osteoporosis they may advise you to eat a diet with iron-rich food, such as spinach. 

Treats: weight gain, anxiety, depression, osteoporosis

  • Find A Support Group

Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life cycle. Yet many women don’t want to discuss the emotional and physical changes they’re experiencing. This can be an extremely isolating time period, so women need people to talk about these issues with now more than ever. Find finds who’ve already gone through menopause to discuss the changes you’re experiencing. If your female friends had a completely different experience with menopause than you or if they haven’t gone through menopause yet, consider finding a support group where you can openly talk about what you’re experiencing. 

Treats: anxiety, depression

  • Dress In Layers

Wearing layers throughout the day can help you better manage hot flashes since you can remove extra clothing whenever a hot flash starts to take place. Wearing loose layers at night will also help you to manage night sweats. 

Treats: hot flashes, night sweats

What Natural Menopause Treatments Exist? 

In addition to general lifestyle changes, there are also several natural treatment options available to you. 

  • Take A Daily Calcium Supplement

To help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, take a calcium supplement on a regular basis. This will help you maintain your bone density and will make your bones stronger.

Treats: osteoporosis

  • Use A Vaginal Lube During Intercourse

Since one of the side effects of menopause is vaginal dryness, this can make intercourse painful. To make up for the lack of natural lubrication, use a lubricant. Look for a lubricant that’s water-based and is free of additives or fragrances so your skin won’t be irritated. If you don’t want to use lube, look for a high-quality intimate sensual CBD oil that will help to drive blood to your vagina and may help you lubricate naturally. 

Treats: vaginal dryness

  • Drink Tea For An Herbal Remedy 

Many different kinds of teas have been found to help lessen many of the symptoms associated with menopause. If hormonal treatments aren’t the best option for you, then it’s possible that tea could be a good alternative option. 

A couple of teas to search for: black cohosh root, ginseng, a combination of dong quai and chamomile, valerian, and ginkgo biloba. Each of these can treat a different menopause symptom, so do a little research on each tea to see which one would be best for your symptoms. 

Treats: hot flashes, night sweats, mood fluctuations, insomnia, anxiety, depression

  • Mix CBD Into Your Routine

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a natural element that’s found in cannabis and hemp plants. Research has found that it can help you better manage sleep cycles, lessen anxiety and feelings of depression, regulate your hormones, and help with stiff joints.   

Below, we’ll break down further how CBD could help you navigate menopausal symptoms. 

CBD As A Menopausal Treatment

  • Stiff Joints

As stated earlier, when our bodies stop producing as much estrogen, a higher level of inflammatory molecules are released into our systems. CBD has proven anti-inflammatory properties and can help to protect your joints from inflammatory damage. It can also help to lower the levels of inflammatory molecules in your system. 

Try out Botanima Organic’s CBD softgel with curcumin or our premium grade salve for added anti-inflammatory support. 

  • Hot Flashes & Night Sweats

Although there isn’t much scientific research on the exact effect that CBD can have on hot flashes and night sweats, there’s a belief that CBD could improve this symptom for women because of the influence it has on your body’s serotonin system. Hot flashes and night sweats have a neurochemical basis. If CBD helps your body better regulate its cooling system, then night sweats are less likely to occur. 

  • Menopause And Weight Gain

As you go through menopause, it becomes more difficult to maintain lean muscle because your hormones begin to swap your lean muscle cells for abdominal fat cells. Without estrogen, our bodies are also less inclined to burn as many calories as we go about our normal daily activities too. With this shift happening in our bodies, we’re also more likely to develop insulin resistance, which means that it can make it more difficult to break down insulin in our system and manage the amount of sugar in our system. 

CBD has been linked with better managing the amount of natural endocannabinoids in our bodies. One of these key endocannabinoids is 2-AG. This endocannabinoid has increased levels in our body during menopause, which can contribute to insulin resistance. Research has found that taking CBD can help our bodies lessen the amount of 2-AG in our system. 

When looking for a CBD supplement, pick one that’s made with high-quality ingredients, like Botanima Organics premium grade CBD softgels.

  • Sex Drive

Unfortunately, many women experience a lack of sexual desire as they enter menopause. This can be due to a variety of reasons - stress, lowered confidence, fear of growing older - but it can also be due to the lack of estrogen in your system. Without estrogen, the vagina’s pain-perceiving nerves can become much more acute. 

Ironically, the best way to prevent vagina atrophy is by finding ways to keep your blood flowing to this region. One way to do this is through trying to continue to have a healthy sexual lifestyle (either by yourself or with a partner) A CBD product like an aphrodisiac oil can help get you into the mood and improve blood flow to your pelvic region. 

  • Insomnia & Sleep Disturbances

If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, consider using CBD as a sleep supplement. Research has found that CBD has positive side effects for helping adults relax and fall asleep, even when it's been compared to prescription sleep aids. An added positive of taking CBD over prescription sleep aids is that CBD isn’t addictive since our body already has dedicated receptors for CBD and creates endocannabinoids for these receptors on a regular basis. Taking CBD simply helps to give our body a gentle “push” towards sleep.

If you’re looking for a CBD product that has added sleep benefits, give Botanima Organic’s CBD softgels with melatonin a try! 

  • Anxiety, Depression, And Sudden Mood Fluctuations

Both estrogen and progesterone have an influence on the amount of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in our brains. All of these can directly affect our mood. As our levels of estrogen and progesterone become irregular during menopause, and eventually decline, it's more common for women to experience mood changes. 

CBD has been linked to activating serotonin receptors, which in turn helps to regulate women’s mood fluctuations. It can also help to lower feelings of anxiety and depression. For women who’re experiencing insomnia due to an increased level of anxiety, this is also excellent news since CBD could indirectly make it easier to restore a restful sleep pattern. 

  • Memory Loss

Many women who go through menopause begin to struggle with their memories. Although many people attempt to blame this on age, even younger women who’ve gone through surgical menopause can experience rapid memory loss. A part of the brain, known as the hippocampus, is primarily in charge of creating new synaptic pathways and this allows you to maintain a strong and healthy memory system. Both estrogen and progesterone are responsible for encouraging neurons in the hippocampus to form new connections, so when these hormones start to dissipate during menopause, our memory can struggle. 

Although there isn’t solid scientific evidence yet that CBD can improve memory, it seems likely that it could help with memory loss since this natural element assists in managing so many other hormones in our system. CBD also doesn’t have many (if any) negative side effects associated with it, so it could be worth a try to see if it helps you focus and improves your memory. 

Menopause, Lifestyle Changes And CBD Treatments

Menopause affects every woman differently. Your friend might have one batch of symptoms while you have completely different symptoms. Your symptoms can also shift quickly. One day, symptoms could be intense and the next day they may not seem so bad. 

Since menopause is a multifaceted and complex process, you’ll have to troubleshoot what works best for you and your body. Try to make natural lifestyle changes to see if that improves your symptoms. On top of those changes, try out CBD supplements so your body can better regulate your hormones. 

Perhaps most importantly, find someone to talk to about what you’re experiencing and how you’re feeling. Know that you’re not the only woman experiencing the symptoms of menopause and your emotions are completely valid. 

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