Menopause is experienced in different ways from person to person. Most people feel some kind of discomfort associated with menopause. It can be light or more difficult. Some feel as usual during menopause.
The trouble you can get during menopause is because the amount of sex hormone estrogen in the body decreases.
Menopausal disorders are also called transitional disorders.
Common menopausal disorders are
- irregular bleeding
- hot flashes, you suddenly get hot and start sweating
- Mood swings
- sleeping problems
- problems from the vagina, such as dry mucous membranes, burning and itching
- disorders of the urinary tract, such as that you often feel pissed off and that it leaks urine when you cough or sneeze.
What can I do for myself?
Moving is always good and has a positive impact on the mood while reducing hot flashes and sweating. Those who are in menopause and exercise at least once a week feel better than those who do not. It is important to choose an exercise that feels good. If you are above moving, for example, you can start walking regularly.
You can also relieve menopausal symptoms in other ways:
- Try relaxation exercises , it can reduce the trouble with hot flashes and sweats.
- Avoid tight clothing and synthetic materials. If you dress in many thin layers, you can easily take off when you feel warm.
- Drink less coffee, tea and alcohol, as the drinks can aggravate hot flashes and sweats.
- Do not wash your abdomen more than once a day. Then you avoid unnecessary irritation in already mucous membranes.
- Use unpainted bath oil instead of soap when washing the abdomen. You can apply the oil and wipe before showering. Do not rinse with soap and water inside the vagina.
- Use lubricant if you are troubled by dry mucous membranes during vaginal intercourse.
- Try non-prescription drugs with estrogen that you bring into the vagina.
- Try a prescription gel without estrogen that increases the moisture in the vagina and which you can buy at a pharmacy.
- In health food stores, products are sold for menopausal symptoms, but you should not use them for any length of time without discussing it with a doctor.
When should I seek care?
Contact a health center or gynecologic clinic if any of the following is true of you:
- You have trouble with hot flashes and sweating or sleep problems that affect your daily life
- You have itching and burning in the vagina even though you have tried non-prescription drugs in the vagina for two to three weeks
- You have urinary problems
- You will have bleeding more than a year after your last period
Treatment can relieve the hassle
If you have major problems with hot flashes and sweating and sleep poorly, you may be given medicines containing estrogen in the form of tablets, patches or gel.
If you have only genital disorders, estrogen therapy in the vagina may suffice.
Read more about medicines for menopausal disorders .
Acupuncture can in many cases reduce the trouble with hot flashes and sweating.
You choose yourself
It is up to you to decide if the problems are so severe that you need treatment. You may have such severe sleep problems that you do not work as you usually do, or sweat so much that it becomes difficult to be with others.
In order for you to decide whether you want treatment or not, it is important that the doctor inform about the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment. Then, in consultation with your doctor, you can decide whether you want estrogen therapy or not.
Studies for estrogen therapy
Before you are treated with estrogen, you should have a gynecological examination to rule out uterine disease. You should also have your breasts examined with mammograms .
What happens in the body?
The first sign that the last period is approaching is usually irregular bleeding. In the beginning, people come more often. For example, if you have had menstruation every four weeks before, it is common for menstruation to come every three weeks instead. It is an early sign that the ovaries have started to age.
The next step is that the period comes at longer intervals, sometimes it can take three to four months between the bleeding. If it has been more than six months since the last bleeding, it is very likely that the menopause, the last menstrual period, has occurred. After a year you can be sure that you will not get any more menstrual bleeding.
Some, on the other hand, have quite a regular period up to the last period.
Hot flashes and sweats
Hot flashes and sweating are common problems. They are because the body’s regulation of temperature becomes unbalanced as the amount of hormone changes.
A hot flash may feel like you are getting hot, first at the height of your chest and then upwards over your neck, face and hairline. You can get red in the face and get a sweating that starts in the hairline and face.
A sweat usually lasts for two to three minutes. But it can vary in length from a few seconds to an hour. It is common to wake up sweating several times each night.
Coolings can also occur. It is not as common as hot flashes. Cold drains are usually experienced as chills and you freeze even if you sleep under extra duvets.
How severe the inconvenience is and how often the hot flashes or freezing will vary in periods. Most people have hot flashes and sweats for up to a year, but there are those who suffer for several years and even for the rest of their lives.
Mood swings and sleep problems
In the years immediately before and after the last period, it is more common than before in life with mental disorders, such as depression. You can have easier mood changes and become more irritated.
Sleep problems often occur due to hot flashes and sweating.
For some, menopause coincides with having teenage children and old parents to take care of. There are also factors that can affect mood and sleep.
Disorders of the vagina and urinary tract
The tissues in the vagina and urinary tract become thinner and drier during menopause. You can then get burning, itching and small bleeding. It can hurt and bleed a little when you have vaginal intercourse.
The muscles and mucous membranes of the vagina and urethra are not as elastic as before. Therefore, the muscles cannot close to the urethra as well. Urine can then leak out when you cough, sneeze, laugh or jump. Often feeling pissed off is common.
The acidity in the vagina changes during menopause. The mucosa then becomes more susceptible to bacteria and you may have easier to get urinary tract infection.
The problems from the vagina and the urinary tract usually come some or a few years after the last period, but they can also come earlier.
Dry mucous membranes in the abdomen along with nocturnal sweats can also reduce your sex drive. If you have a partner, it is good to talk about the changes you are going through.
Can the symptoms be due to any illness?
Half of all over 40 years have muscle nodules, so-called myomas, in the uterus. The myoma can cause profuse and painful bleeding. The same applies to the disease endometriosis.
It is rare, but sometimes irregular bleeding during menopause can be a sign of cell changes in the uterine lining . Then the bleeding tend to be completely irregular. Sometimes they can last for two to three weeks with only one week’s rest, or come back just a day after the menstruation is over.
It is precisely in menopause that diseases such as uterine cancer, myoma and endometriosis are becoming more common. You should therefore seek care at a health care center or gynecologic clinic if you have bleeding that is more painful than before, bleeding that comes completely irregular or bleeding during vaginal intercourse. The same applies if the bleeding is so abundant that it affects your everyday life.