8 Symptoms of Menopause and What To Do About Them

Menopause usually happens at around age 45-55. The symptoms can vary, so many women don’t quite know what to expect or how to tell if they’re starting menopause. 

At Women’s Health Care Center of Houston, our team is here to help erase that confusion and smooth your path through menopause. You deserve to know what menopause looks like and how you can navigate this time with ease. 

In our June blog, we discuss the symptoms that can clue you in and explain how we can help you through this transition. Here are eight common symptoms you need to know about. 

Hot flashes

About 8 in 10 women have hot flashes during menopause, making them among the most common menopause symptoms.  Hot flashes happen when your hormones plummet, a normal part of menopause. 

These hormone changes make it hard for your brain to control your body temperature and can lead to some dramatic spikes, like whole-body overheating. 

The average hot flash lasts five minutes or less, but it can be very disruptive. Hot flashes feel like an intense rush of heat and may include sudden, profuse sweating. Your face may turn bright red, or you may feel like you’re going to pass out.

Night sweats

Night sweats, like hot flashes, are a sign that your hormones are changing. In fact, night sweats are basically hot flashes that happen during the night. 

Many women experience severe night sweats. You might wake up drenched in sweat or even find your bedsheets damp or wet when you awaken.

Reduced libido 

Hormones surge to new heights during adolescence, causing the high libido for which teenagers are known. But during menopause, your hormones go in exactly the opposite direction, and your sex drive often dwindles sharply. 

You might feel like you’re never in the mood. Or, it might seem like it’s a lot harder to get in the mood. Sometimes, lower libido goes hand in hand with our next symptom.

Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness happens when your estrogen levels decrease. You need estrogen to support a healthy vaginal lining, so less estrogen leads to that lining becoming thinner, weaker, and less able to self-lubricate. 

This, alongside a natural libido decrease, can make your sex life feel unsatisfying during menopause. 

Increased frequency of urination

Just as estrogen helps keep the vaginal lining strong, it helps reinforce your bladder. Until menopause, that is. During this time, the bladder walls grow weaker. So do the pelvic floor muscles.

The National Association for Continence explains that this can lead to a bladder that feels full  more frequently. So, you may feel the urge to urinate far more often, or you may wake up at night to pee. 

The risk of urinary incontinence (accidental urine leakage) increases with age, too. Recent data show that it peaks during menopause, according to The National Library of Medicine. And, more than half of postmenopausal women have urinary incontinence.

Hair thinning 

During menopause, hair may start shedding faster. You might notice overall thinning, dryer, and more brittle hair. Many women also say that their hair texture feels much finer. 

This can all happen because estrogen normally helps nourish hair follicles and encourage hair growth. With less estrogen, your hair follicles may shrink, leading to unwanted hair changes. 

Mood swings

About 40% of women going through perimenopause — the transitional period before menopause — experience significant mood swings. You might have frustrating rapid mood changes, increased teariness, a short temper, and other unwelcome changes. 

These changes are similar to those that happen with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but menopause mood swings have their own name: perimenopausal mood instability. 

Weight gain

Many women gain about 1.5 pounds every year during their 50s. Hormone loss during these years can make it easier to gain and retain weight, especially around the belly. 

Other factors, like a steady loss of muscle mass, can also slow down your metabolism and lead to weight gain and fat retention. In addition, many women become less active with age, so it’s harder to keep extra weight off. 

How we can help with menopause symptoms

At Women’s Health Care Center of Houston, we offer menopause symptom relief, customized for you. One of our most common approaches is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which uses plant-based hormones to restore your balance and relieve your symptoms. 

We may also recommend other treatments like topical estrogen, lifestyle changes, weight management, or medications like antidepressants. Don’t hesitate to share your concerns with us so we can help you feel your best again. 

Call either of our Houston, Texas, offices or reach out to us online today for menopause support.