Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman's menstrual cycle. It usually occurs between your 40s and 50s and can last for several years.
While most women are familiar with the common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and mood swings, there are some surprising signs you should be aware of. Here are some of these signs and why you shouldn't ignore them.
1. Joint pain
While it's common for women to experience joint pain as they age, menopause can exacerbate this symptom. The decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can cause joint pain and stiffness, especially in the hands, wrists, knees, and hips.
If you're experiencing this, stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga can help keep joints limber and reduce pain. Additionally, supplements like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D can strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
2. Hair loss
Many women experience thinning hair or bald spots during menopause, which can be attributed to decreased estrogen levels. After all, estrogen helps stimulate hair growth, so a decrease in this hormone can lead to hair loss.
Aside from hair-strengthening shampoos and conditioners, you can take supplements like biotin, vitamin D, and collagen to promote healthy hair growth. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein and vitamins can also help support hair health.
3. Memory problems
Many women experience difficulty with memory and concentration during menopause, which can be attributed to hormonal changes and aging. Estrogen helps protect the brain and maintain cognitive function, so decreasing this hormone can lead to memory problems.
One way to combat memory problems is to engage in regular mental exercises, such as puzzles and memory games. Getting enough sleep and reducing stress can also help improve cognitive function.
4. Skin changes
Estrogen is vital for your skin's health and appearance, and its decline during menopause can lead to various skin changes. This includes dryness, thinning, and a loss of elasticity, which can result in wrinkles and sagging.
While you must take care of your skin throughout your life, it becomes even more critical during menopause. You can combat some skin changes by using moisturizers, staying hydrated, and eating a healthy diet of antioxidants. You can also protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen and avoiding direct sunlight during peak hours.
5. Vaginal Dryness
Estrogen, as the main female sex hormone, helps with natural vaginal lubrication and blood flow, so lower estrogen levels during menopause contribute to vaginal dryness and itchiness. The lack of lubrication can make intimacy difficult or painful, which can make you less likely to want to be intimate.
There are numerous ways to help with vaginal dryness, from vaginal moisturizers like Replens, more lubrication during sex, hormone therapy, and sex toys. Sex toys can help stimulate blood flow in the genitals, increasing sensation and lubrication.
While most women are familiar with the common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and mood swings, there are some surprising signs you should be aware of. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talking to your doctor about treatment options is important. Remember, menopause is a normal part of life; suffering in silence is unnecessary.