The female body undergoes several biological changes. One of these monumental changes is menopause. Officially, menopause is diagnosed 12 months after the last menstruation. However, there's a long period leading up to menopause called perimenopause or menopausal transition. This period can last as long as 14 years and is a natural part of the aging process.
- Irregular Periods
An irregular period is a standard indicator of perimenopause. During a regular menstrual cycle, the body releases progesterone and estrogen levels habitually, which causes regular ovulation in the middle of the cycle. If pregnancy does not occur, a period happens around two weeks after ovulation.
However, during perimenopause, the body produces less estrogen. Also, the ovaries start to fluctuate in their ovum release, which means you may not have a period altogether. Irregular periods also include:
- Heavy bleeding during the period
- Clots during the period
- Spotting and light bleeding between periods
- Longer or shorter periods than usual
However, other issues such as hormone problems, pregnancy, birth control, endometrial hyperplasia, cancer, and fibroids can affect your period. It's best to talk to your OB-GYN to confirm why you have irregular periods and bleeding.
- Hot Flashes
A hot flash is a sudden increase in body temperature. The condition lasts for several minutes and causes flushing in the face, palpitations, and sweating. The flushes can cause night sweats that wake you up. Hot flashes occur because of fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels, which affect the hormones that regulate body temperature.
Usually, hormone replacement therapy with estrogen is the best way to control hot flashes. However, taking estrogen has high risks of endometrial cancer and blood clots. Some treatments also combine progesterone to manage the cancer risk. However, it's best to consult your OB-GYN for personalized medication. Other treatments include:
- Anti-seizure medication
- Blood pressure medication
You can also stay away from triggers that increase the occurrence of hot flashes. These include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothes
- Vaginal Dryness
The hormone estrogen affects several functions in the female reproductive system, including lubrication. The vagina self-moisturizes through secretions. However, when the estrogen levels decrease, vaginal atrophy occurs, and lubrication reduces. The vagina pH also increases, which makes the vagina less acidic.
Fortunately, you can purchase Gynagyn VA to relieve vaginal dryness. It combines hyaluronic acid and lactic acid to lubricate the vagina and restore the vaginal pH.
- Vaginal Itching
Vaginal itching also occurs due to vaginal atrophy. As the skin in the vagina thins and becomes less lubricated, you'll feel itchier. The itching increases when wearing tight clothes or after sex. Moisturizing treatments such as Gynagyn VA and Gynafresh VW provide relief from itching.
- General Itching
As the body's estrogen levels decrease, the skin also suffers. Estrogen helps your skin by stimulating the production of collagen and oils. As estrogen levels decrease, the skin becomes thinner and drier, making you itchier and sensitive to products. Your skin may react to soap, beauty products and fragrances. You may also develop rashes and bumps on the skin.
There are several ways to manage general itching, including:
- Taking colloidal oatmeal baths
- Using moisturizer regularly
- Using products with Vitamin C
- Using steroid creams and anaesthetic creams to control inflammation
- Take cool showers
- Avoiding alcohol, smoking and anything that dries out your skin
- Mood Swings
Up to 70% of women experience irritability during perimenopause. You may feel more irritated, angry or less patient than usual. The changes in your moods happen due to fluctuations in estrogen levels, which affects the production of serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that works as a mood stabilizer. The lack of serotonin causes irritability, depression, and anxiety. There are several ways to handle mood swings, including:
- Practising mindfulness
- Eating healthy and hydrating
- Difficulty Sleeping
Changes in hormone levels, hot flashes, medications, and mental disorders during perimenopause can affect sleep quality. Some women also develop sleep apnea, a condition that disrupts breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea causes snoring, insomnia, frequent awakenings, gasping, and headaches. You can improve the quality of your sleep by:
- Stimulating yourself intellectually
- Practising stress management through meditation and mindfulness
- Eating healthy and drinking enough water
- Following a sleep schedule
- Bone Loss
Bone loss increases during perimenopause and continues past menopause due to estrogen deficiency. As the loss of bone density increases, you may develop osteoporosis. While taking estrogen helps reduce bone loss, your healthcare provider may not recommend it to avoid adverse effects such as cancer and blood clots. You can have your bones tested to check on your bone strength before or during menopause.
There are several ways to increase your bone health, including:
- Consuming more calcium through dairy products, leafy vegetables, and multivitamins
- Consuming more vitamin D
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Cognitive Changes
Estrogen influences cognitive functions such as learning, information retrieval, and decision-making. When estrogen levels drop during perimenopause and menopause, cognitive functions are affected. Mood disturbances and high cortisol levels also harm the brain. Brain fog, forgetfulness and attention deficiency are also common.
Most cognitive issues tend to disappear when changes stop after menopause, as long as other health issues do not cause them. You can take care of your mental health by:
- Getting enough sleep
- Getting enough exercise
- Eating healthy meals
- Weight Gain
Women tend to gain more weight around menopause. The weight gain happens because of changes in hormone levels and aging. As you grow older, you lose muscle mass, which slows your metabolism and increases fat gain. You may notice weight increase, especially around the abdomen and thighs. The best ways to manage weight gain is to exercise more and avoid foods and beverages with high fat, sugar and alcohol content.
Menopause is a natural part of aging. Fortunately, you can manage the symptoms to ease the process and improve your overall health. Gynagyn VA and Gynafresh VW help you manage your vaginal dryness and irritation during perimenopause and menopause. Check out our Gynagyn products to discover how they help you maintain your vaginal health.