Both men and women experience unique changes as they age, but women, in particular, go through a change that causes unwanted side effects. This change is known as menopause, and it typically occurs in females in their 50s.
During menopause, estrogen levels begin to decrease, menstruation stops, and, as mentioned, a slew of unwanted side effects begin to take place. Whether you’ve already experienced menopause, are going through it now, or are on the cusp of it, it’s important to understand what changes are occurring and how they can affect your health.
Changes that occur during menopause
Many of the symptoms associated with menopause occur because of changes in hormone levels. Estrogen is essential for women, as it causes the monthly menstrual cycle along with offering protection to women’s health. When estrogen levels decrease, it also increases a women’s risk for health problems, including heart disease.
Hot flashes are a common symptom that women experience and complain about, as they tend to be the most bothersome. They feel like a sudden hotness that sweeps over you. This heat doesn’t just feel warmer, it can actually feel unbearably hot. Hot flashes vary in duration.
Hot flashes can affect every woman differently. Some may feel the urge to jump in a freezer while others can find relief from a small fan.
To help reduce frequency and intensity of hot flashes, it’s recommended that you avoid spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, as they are all well-known triggers of hot flashes.
Sleeplessness is another big problem that is linked with menopause, sometimes occurring as a result of nighttime hot flashes. The link between menopause and sleeplessness isn’t completely understood—ongoing research is taking place.
In the meantime, researchers suggest cutting back on caffeine, exercising daily, and winding down and relaxing a few hours before bed.
Bone health is another pressing concern for women experiencing menopause. As estrogen drops, bones become increasingly frail. Furthermore, new bone production decreases, so bone begins to deteriorate quicker than it can be rebuilt. This increases the risk of disability if not taken care of. Speak to your doctor about bone-loss prevention so that you don’t fall victim to frail bones.
As you can see, aging can be quite challenging for women. However, working closely with your doctor can ensure a smooth transition into menopause.