Signs Of Menopause

Written by Sarah Provost
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Signs of menopause begin several years earlier than most women are aware of them. Since menopause is caused by the body's gradual reduction in the production of estrogen, the first sign, long before skipped periods or the "here-we-go-again" of hot flashes, is a corresponding reduction in fertility. Unless you are actively trying to become pregnant, you probably won't be aware of it at all. Gradually your menstrual cycles will become less regular, and then stop.

Signs of Menopause: Hot Flashes

There's no missing the first hot flash, though. It often starts with a prickly feeling at the nape of the neck, and then wham! Your face flushes, you perspire profusely, and your heart pounds like a jackhammer. No fun, but at least hot flashes aren't harmful.

Mood swings, anxiety, irritability and problems sleeping are some other signs of menopause. Declining levels of hormones can decrease your libido, and the drying and atrophy of vaginal tissue can make sex uncomfortable or even painful. You may also notice that your skin and hair have become dryer.

The good news is that all of these signs of menopause are treatable. Herbal remedies, changes in diet and exercise, stress reduction and vitamin supplements all help to make you more comfortable, and hormone replacement therapy is available if needed. The other good news is, it's temporary. Menopause is not an illness, only a natural passage from fertility to post-fertility. Most women live a third of their lives after menopause, so don't think of it as the curtain falling. It's just the beginning of Act Three.

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