Symptoms Of Menopause
Bloating is defined as a feeling of fullness or tightness in the abdominal area that can lead to a certain degree of discomfort or even pain. It is mainly experienced during the menopausal transition as a result of either water retention, increased intestinal gas, or a combination of both.
The duration and intensity will vary from woman to woman, with some women experiencing bloating for a few days and then not again for a year, or possibly for several months at a time. A woman can wake up with a flat stomach and then have her stomach distend progressively throughout the day, or the bloating may appear within amatter of minutes and be aggravated by eating.
While bloating can occur as a result of such factors as diet or stress, the most likely cause for menopausal women is a fluctuation in hormones, particularly estrogen. When estrogen levels become erratic during perimenopause, so does the incidence of water retention, leading to bloating.
Happily, bloating is not a symptom that needs to be permanent. There are ways to both manage and defeat it, in different stages. It is generally recommended that women begin with the least invasive option, which would be lifestyle changes. Particularly if the bloating is caused by excessive intestinal gas, some dietary changes can be extremely beneficial. Cutting out dairy products, sodium, and trigger foods such as onions, beans and sugary snacks can have an impact on the incidence of bloating. Stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation can also help.
You may get hot flushes beginning on your face, neck or chest and spreading up or down your body. The skin here may also become red and patchy, and you may start to sweat.
Hot flushes usually last up to five minutes and around 20 percent of women say their hot flushes can be severe and cause interference with their quality of life.
The good news is that hot flushes usually stop one year after your last period, but for 10 percent of women, they can continue for more than 15 years.
Doctors don’t believe weight gain is due to the menopause alone. A study found that gaining weight was more likely to be due to drinking alcohol and not exercising enough.
The body composition also changes, with the percentage of body fat increasing and muscle mass decreasing.
Decreased muscle mass lowers the metabolism , which may be responsible for weight gain at this period of a woman’s life.
Skin and hair will natural become dryer and also the lubrication produced by glands at the neck of the womb (the cervix) keeps the vagina supple and moist, will decrease. The moisture moves slowly down through the vagina, keeping it clean and removing dead cells.
Other reasons for vaginal dryness before the menopause can be linked to hygiene products such as feminine sprays and harsh soaps, swimming pool and hot tub chemicals and some washing powders. Certain drug treatments such as allergy and cold medications and some antidepressants, can also dry out mucous membranes, including vaginal tissues.
There are a number of simple ways in which to lubricate a dry vagina:
- Water-soluble starch based lubricant such as KY Jelly – these are similar to natural lubrication and should be applied to the area around the lips (vulva) and vagina just before intercourse takes place
- Vaginal moisturisers – these are often creams used two to three times a week and last for up to two days, therefore they do not have to be applied directly before intercourse takes place
- Petroleum-based products such as Vaseline®