Hot flashes or hot flushes are the most common symptom of menopause, occurring in 74 percent of surveyed participants. A hot flash is when a wave of heat or warmth floods over the body. It creates a redness in the skin, which is why it is frequently called a flush. This is the body’s chief reaction to lowered estrogen.
Hormone changes can influence weight gain and redistribution of fat. While you may not experience significant weight gain, you may notice that your weight redistributes itself to settle more around your waist and less in other areas.
Night sweats are similar to hot flashes but occur during sleeping. The body is flushed with heat, causing extreme sweating while sleeping. This can cause disruption of sleep, which may be one reason why tiredness and fatigue are so common among menopausal adults. You’ll likely know if you have night sweats because you can wake up to soaked sheets.
Tiredness and fatigue are quite common among menopausal adults. Part of this could be due to insomnia and night sweats that many people experience. However, the hormonal changes going on could also be a factor in causing fatigue. You may find it difficult to get moving in the morning or get tired easily during physical activity.
Insomnia is a common menopause symptom. Hormonal changes in the body cause changes to dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, which can lead to an inability to sleep. This is one reason for fatigue, and it is also contributed to by night sweats.
Hormonal changes, fatigue, and a combination of other symptoms are likely to make you irritable during menopause. You may find that you are quick to snap at people when they bother you or interrupt you during a task. You may also find that you get more easily frustrated while trying to perform tasks.
Many people experience depression during menopause. Depression can occur for many reasons, but a hormonal imbalance often plays a role. More often, the combination of the hormone changes and the other symptoms of menopause lead to a depressive state. Many people going through menopause are on antidepressants.
One of the first menopause symptoms you will notice is irregular periods. Your periods may become irregular before you notice any other symptoms of menopause. Irregularity can widely vary from woman to woman and can last for several months or years before other symptoms occur.
Many people assume that irregular periods from menopause will be further apart, but this is not always the case. In many cases, periods become closer together and then further apart, becoming nearly impossible to predict. You could go two weeks between cycles then six weeks before the one after that. Any irregularity in periods can be a symptom of menopause.
Loss of Sex Drive
The decrease in estrogen from menopause can often cause a loss of sex drive or libido. Many adults who are going through menopause do not feel their best. They may feel as though they are not as sexually attractive, which can lead to not wanting to have sex. Also, the lack of estrogen can take away sex drive.
Vaginal dryness is another symptom of menopause that can contribute to a loss of sex drive. As estrogen levels decrease, the vagina can become very dry. This can cause sex to be very uncomfortable, leading some people to not want to engage in the activity. Vaginal dryness can also lead to a pH imbalance which can cause yeast infections.