The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Around the ages of 45 to 55, women experience something called menopause. Although most people have heard of this natural stage of life, it can be difficult to understand how it affects your body. The truth is, there are many things happening to a woman’s body when she is going through menopause. Afterall, your body is changing its biological capabilities. So, what can you expect to happen to your body during menopause? Continue reading to find out.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is where a woman’s reproductive system starts to slow down. The body experiences large hormonal shifts as the ovaries are producing less estrogen. These hormonal shifts result in you having an irregular cycle, then eventually no cycle at all. With all of these hormonal changes going on, your body will feel different. You may struggle to feel a sense of normalcy as you experience these hormonal shifts. Keep in mind, these feeling are temporary and they are treatable. But, the following symptoms are some of the most common effects of menopause that you can expect.
By far the most common symptom of menopause is mood swings. Just like with premenstrual symptoms and pregnancy, your body is trying to regulate your changing hormones. With your hormones out of balance, you may feel moody. This could mean being irritable, easily saddened, and quick to frustration. Or, it could mean changing moods at the drop of a hat.
Although mood swings due to menopause are completely normal, it’s important that they don’t affect your personal relationships. If they do, it’s important to consult with a doctor to see if there is something they can do to remedy this. There are many hormone therapy options that they may consider to help you get back to normal.
2.Increase Anxiety and Depression
Instead of increased irritability, some women experience anxiety and depression. If a hormone shift is big enough, someone who has never had anxiety and depression could experience these symptoms during menopause. If you experience anxiety or depression because of menopause, reach out to a counselor or a doctor. These mental health issues are serious concerns that can be treated. With menopause lasting such a long time, it’s important to get treatment for your anxiety and depression caused by menopause.
A less serious, but still uncomfortable, symptom of menopause is having hot flashes. These are random bouts of overheating, sometimes to the point of sweating. No matter how cold the room is, you overheat as if you have been sitting in a sauna. According to the Mayo Clinic, hot flashes are due to hormone imbalances. Doctors aren’t exactly sure why this happens, but many believe it’s due to a drop in estrogen. Thankfully, there are many over the counter supplements that may help with these uncomfortable periods of overheating.
4.Loss of Energy
Progesterone and estrogen are critical in helping you maintain energy levels. According to WebMD, these hormones can protect women from sleep apnea. With these hormones shifting, you can easily become exhausted. Additionally, your body is changing its processes, which can take a lot of work. This is also why you may be feeling hungrier during menopause. Your body is trying to compensate for all of the energy it’s spending during menopause. So, try to get as much sleep as possible during the years of menopause so it’s easier on your body.
In the same vein as having a lack of energy, menopause can cause insomnia. According to an article by Kimberly Holland for Healthline, about 60 percent of women experience insomnia during menopause. This can happen because of sleep interruptions due to hot flashes, mentioned above. Or, it could be because your body is struggling to produce melatonin, which is essential for sleep. If you are experiencing insomnia, talk to your doctor about starting a sleep medicine to fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
Dealing with Menopause
If you are experiencing menopause, remember it’s not forever. With every woman experiencing this hormonal decline, there are many options for treatment. Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, your doctor will prescribe something different. At the end of the day, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Chances are, the symptoms you have are common. However, it’s always best to be safe than sorry.