Menopause: These symptoms are typical

Menopause: These symptoms are typical

During menopause, the proportion of estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body changes in women. The resulting hormonal imbalance can trigger a wide variety of symptoms. In particular, the two hormones influence the autonomic nervous system – i.e., the part of the nervous system that cannot be controlled voluntarily and supplies the internal organs.

Menopausal symptoms can, therefore, go far beyond the well-known hot flashes. You can find out which symptoms are typical during menopause and what triggers them in our photo series.

If you have severe or long-lasting symptoms, you should always seek medical advice to clarify possible causes and treatment options.

Estrogens influence temperature regulation in the body: if the estrogen level fluctuates, this can become noticeable in the form of hot flashes and sweating. This is also known as vasomotor disorder.

A hot flash usually only lasts a few minutes. The upper body and face, in particular, are often affected by the increased sensitivity to heat, which is why some women also blush during the hot flash. Since temperature regulation is disrupted, a sudden cold sensation can follow the hot flash.

From the age of 35, muscle mass in women begins to decrease. Joint pain can result if this process is not balanced by physical activity. Back pain, in particular, is also joint.

Joint pain can increase again during menopause . This is due to the lack of estrogen, which is involved in the production of collagen in the body. This protein is, among other things, an essential component of connective tissue but also bones and cartilage. With less collagen, the articular cartilage becomes thinner and more sensitive. In addition, the muscles and bones are less well supplied with blood due to the reduced estrogen production. So muscle pain and joint pain are common symptoms of menopause.

In premenopause, i.e. at the beginning of menopause, longer and heavier menstrual periods occur more frequently. This is related to the initially elevated estrogen levels. In addition, the intervals between bleeding can be reduced because the release of progesterone decreases while the production of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increases.

Estrogen levels also drop during menopause. The lining of the uterus becomes thinner, which also affects the blood vessels in it. As a result, light spotting can occur again and again during menopause. A brownish tint usually characterizes them.

Problems sleeping through the night can occur more frequently during the menopause. This includes when sleep is interrupted and it takes over half an hour to fall asleep again. Insomnia can also be attributed to a lack of estrogen. Night sweats and hot flashes can also affect sleep.

Apart from impairments caused by hot flashes, problems falling asleep are usually not due to menopausal symptoms.

After age 35, muscle mass decreases in women who do not exercise. The body uses less energy. In addition, more abdominal fat can be stored due to the hormonal changes during menopause.

Women going through menopause should, therefore, ensure that they eat a healthy and balanced diet with enough fruit and vegetables and less fat and sugar if they gain weight. However, the need for nutrients is still high. Radical diets should, therefore, be avoided. Sports can also help get rid of extra pounds quickly.

During menopause, there can be a temporary lack of estrogen with a stable (and thus high about estrogen) proportion of male sex hormones. This can increase facial hair, while at the same time, hair loss or thinning hair can occur in the leading hair.

Breast pain during menopause – i.e. a feeling of tightness in the breasts – is usually due to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone production. If progesterone predominates in the body, more water is stored in the breast tissue. This causes tension pain. Many women are already familiar with this breast pain because it can also occur during the menstrual cycle.

Both estrogen and progesterone affect the blood vessels. High estrogen levels dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure, while progesterone dilates veins and constricts arteries. If the hormone level fluctuates sharply, as can often happen during menopause, this also affects blood circulation. Heart palpitations can be the result.

Due to the hormonal change, less magnesium is absorbed by the body. In addition, many women sweat more during menopause, meaning more magnesium is excreted from the body. Magnesium deficiency can, therefore, occur as a menopausal symptom.

If the urine smells unpleasant during menopause, this is only indirectly related to the hormonal change. As a rule, an infection, such as a bladder infection, is behind the changed smell. However, the susceptibility to such infections increases during menopause since the proportion of lactic acid bacteria in the vagina decreases due to the lack of estrogen – the vaginal flora is disturbed.

The vaginal mucosa is often not as thick during menopause. This can also negatively affect the closure of the urethra. In addition, the pelvic floor muscles lose strength during menopause. Both can lead to more frequent urination and even incontinence.

If the estrogen level in the body decreases, the mucous membranes in the vagina become thinner and lose elasticity. The production of vaginal secretions also decreases. This makes the vagina feel drier, which can lead to painful intercourse, itching or burning.

The lack of estrogen and hormonal fluctuations can also affect mood: Many women feel irritable, nervous or depressed more quickly during menopause. In general, however, depression is not more common in women going through the menopause than in other age groups.

It should be noted here that menopause is a phase of upheaval for many women, for example, when the children leave home or there are changes in work and partnership. Therefore, in addition to hormonal influences, psychological causes can also be behind a changed mood.

If you tend to get headaches or migraines, the symptoms can get worse during menopause. This may be related to lower estrogen levels.

But other headache triggers can also increase with age, independently of menopause, such as signs of wear and tear on the spine. Certain medications prescribed as part of hormone replacement therapy can also promote headaches.

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