Vaginal dryness and suppleness
This occurs due to lower levels of estrogen in the bloodstream. The result can mean sex is either painful and in extreme cases impossible which can have an obvious negative impact on relationships as well as affecting self-image and sexual confidence.
Loss of libido
A decreased or even completely eradicated sex drive is commonly reported by menopausal women and as with the vaginal dryness symptom above can have negative implications for intimate relationships with inevitable knock-on effects which may affect all aspects of daily life and which just adds to the problems.
Although this symptom isn’t completely understood in medical fields it has always been thought it had some link to the hormonal changes and fluctuations which are occurring. However, more recent studies suggest something else too. The menopause marks the period when a woman is no longer able to have children and now it is believed that this, the most basic of animal instincts, may have a far reaching psychological effect.
It is little wonder that a disturbed night’s sleep will result when the menopausal woman finds herself and the bedclothes drenched with sweat, maybe several times in one night and a personal temperature gauge set to boiling.
Hot flashes, sometimes called night flashes are an obvious cause of disturbed sleep, but it appears unsatisfying and disrupted sleep can also occur even where hot flashes are not experienced. Problems may be marked by having trouble getting to sleep in the first place or having trouble staying asleep.
The same hormones, which are fluctuating during the menopause are the same ones which also regulate appetite, deal with the body’s fat storing processes and dictate metabolic rates (how your body uses energy to keep the vital organs functioning healthily and other internal processes).
As a result, it is estimated that as many as 9 out of 10 women will experience weight gain during the menopause which is typified by a slow but steady increase. The weight gain is often concentrated around the abdominal area and can be accompanied by feeling bloated, which comes from water retention (thanks to falling levels of the hormone progesterone).
Because the weight gain is being triggered by basic body processors, reduced calorie diets typically have little or no effect and an exercise routine which may have kept you in trim for years may seemingly inexplicably cease to do so. All highly frustrating as you watch your weight and shape change with a high likelihood of it impacting negatively on confidence levels and body image as well as lightening your bank account as you have to consider a whole new wardrobe.
A sensation which appears to be a thumping or wildly beating heart is known as a palpitation and frequently occurs during the menopause. It is usually attributed to fluctuating hormones.
Some women report discomfort and pain from aching joints during menopause, most common in the neck, wrists and shoulders.
The hormone imbalances and fluctuations associated with the menopause cause some women to suffer from most frequently occurring or higher intensity headaches. Migraine, tension and sinus headaches can all occur ranging from mild to causing prolonged debilitation and can be accompanied by neck pain, vomiting and nausea.
Extreme tiredness and lethargy
The number of women who report low energy levels, high fatigue and lethargy during menopause is high. The tiredness is typified by low stamina levels even when no exertion of any kind has been involved and is often not relieved by sleep or bed rest. It is thought that this fatigue is a result of estrogen deficiencies and can also, but less commonly, be psychological, triggered in part by suffering from other menopause symptoms.
Osteoporosis (or bone thinning)
Although not usually one of the more obvious symptoms for the woman in question, mid and post-menopausal women are at greater risk of this bone disease which results in a higher likelihood of injury or fracture.
If you have found yourself saying ‘yes, yes’ at times as you worked your way through the list above (or even to everyone – poor you!) then don’t despair. For each and every one of the symptoms listed above natural help and relief is at hand and in the following pages we will explain these to you.