Specific Indications of Menopause
Changes in Your Period
A change in your periods might be the first menopause symptom you notice. Your period may no longer be regular. How much you bleed could change -- your period could be lighter than normal or you may have a heavier flow. Your period may also be shorter or last longer. These are all normal results of changes in your reproductive system as you grow older. But, just to make sure there isn't a problem, see your healthcare provider if:
- Your periods are coming close together
- You have heavy bleeding
- You have spotting
- Your periods are lasting more than a week.
Hot flashes are common symptoms of menopause related to changing estrogen levels. They may last a few years after menopause. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of heat in the upper part or all of your body. Your face and neck become flushed. Red blotches may appear on your chest, back, and arms. Heavy sweating and cold shivering can follow. Flashes can be as mild as a light blush or severe enough to wake you from a sound sleep (called night sweats). Most hot flashes last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes.
Vagina and Bladder Problems
The changing estrogen levels that occur during menopause can cause your genital area to get drier and thinner. This could make sexual intercourse uncomfortable. Some women get more vaginal or urinary infections. You might find it hard to hold urine long enough to get to the bathroom. Sometimes your urine might leak during exercise, sneezing, coughing, laughing, or running. These can all be menopause symptoms related to the vagina and bladder.
Menopause Symptoms Related to Sex
Around the time of menopause, you may find that your feelings about sex have changed. You could be less interested. Or, on the other hand, you could feel freer and sexier after menopause. You can stop worrying about becoming pregnant after one full year without a period. Keep in mind, however, that you can't ever stop worrying about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as HIV/AIDS or gonorrhea. If you think you might be at risk for an STD, make sure your partner uses a condom each time you have sex.