Menopause is something that happens to every woman eventually. To help you better cope with the changes you experience, it’s best to start with a deeper understanding of what’s going on in your body.
Changes to Your Period
First, you can expect for (or you may have experienced) your periods to be different. They will be scattered, missed or uneven. You may experience longer and shorter cycles. You will want to keep track of them to have for your knowledge or to discuss with your doctor. There are apps that you can use to track them, such as, Ovia, Flo Period Tracker or Period Tracker Lite. You can also track them the old-fashioned way and write them down in a planner. When you discuss with your doctor, he or she can inform you of your hormone levels to confirm or deny that you are going through menopause.
Second, expect your hormone levels for Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), Estradiol (the hormone that measures how much estrogen is in your ovaries) and Thyroid hormones to be different. You may experience hormonal changes by having hot flashes or mood swings. With these hormonal changes you may also experience signs of depression or crankiness. Just be understanding within yourself that you are going through menopause and be patient and kind to yourself. Yes, we can control how our mood swings affect others, but we can’t always control how the mood swings affect us.
Be aware of your body and take it day by day. Get plenty of rest, as needed, too. With the lower estrogen levels, you may also experience itchy skin as a symptom of menopause. The itchy skin reflects lower collagen levels that your estrogen helps produce.
Changes to Your Body
Third, you will want to expect your body to react to these changes. You may have bouts of insomnia, fatigue, headaches (muscle aches and pains, as well), changes in libido, trouble controlling your bladder or vaginal dryness. All of these are normal, but if they ever get to a point of discomfort make sure you talk with your doctor for guidance.
You may also experience hot flashes or night sweats. There have been some studies that say you can anticipate breast tenderness/soreness. A bodily symptom that is not as common to others is burning mouth. You’ll know if you are having this particular symptom of menopause if you are experiencing a decrease in saliva in the mouth and are having a “hot sensation” in the mouth. The sensation can affect lips, tongue, cheeks and the roof of your mouth. Again, stay mindful of your body and understand when you feel something is off. You may experience some joint pain, as well. Sure, pain relievers may help with the aches and pains, but there may be more tips that your doctor can give you that will help with the rest.
Always remember that you are not alone in this! Be sure to consult your doctor for more information. Be patient with the process and take it easy.