Recognizing Menopause Symptoms and Learning How To Keep Them in Check

The onset of menopause can mark one of the most significant life changes for a woman because it marks the end of her reproductive years. However, menopause is also a noteworthy event when it comes to women’s health. 

The shift to menopause is natural, but the physical and emotional symptoms can lead to everything from disrupted sleep to lower quality of life. However, the more you understand menopause symptoms and why they occur, the more equipped you will be to navigate these disruptive symptoms and seek treatment when needed. 

Dr.  Michael Coyle at the Coyle Institute is considered an expert in urogynecological medicine and managing menopause symptoms. Find out more about menopause, related symptoms and how to manage them below. 

What Is Menopause?

Menopause, often referred to as “the change of life,” marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years and is characterized by the cessation of menstruation. This change can occur when a woman reaches her 40s or 50s, but it actually consists of three stages, including: 

  • Perimenopause: The transitional phase leading up to menopause, characterized by hormonal fluctuations and irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Menopause: The cessation of menstruation for 12 consecutive months, typically occurring around the age of 51, signaling the end of a woman’s reproductive years.
  • Postmenopause: The period following menopause, during which symptoms may persist but eventually lessen over time.

Because menopause is such a significant change, there are several misconceptions associated with it. For example, one major misconception is that it marks the end of a woman’s sexuality or vitality, but this is not true, even though changes in libido or sexual function are common. Understanding menopause symptoms and where they stem from negates prevalent myths and offers greater control over your personal experience. 

Common Symptoms of Menopause

While all women experience menopause, and the change is based on the same biological changes, every woman can have a unique experience. The types of symptoms, as well as symptom intensity, can vary and can be physical, emotional and sexual. 

Physical Menopause Symptoms

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Changes in skin elasticity
  • Hair thinning or loss
  • Loss of breast volume 

Emotional Menopause Symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory lapses
  • Decreased motivation

Sexual Health Changes

  • Decreased libido
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased arousal
  • Difficulty achieving orgasm
  • Changes in sexual response

Get help with menopause by calling 850-637-8258.

Impact of Menopause on Daily Life

Menopause marks a significant transition in a woman’s life, often impacting physical, personal and professional aspects. The shift in hormone levels can spur changes in mood, motivation and emotions, sometimes to such an extent that mental health can become a concern due to symptoms of depression or anxiety. 

Additionally, the long-term health implications post-menopause, such as increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues, can bring about a greater need for proactive health management as a woman. 

Lifestyle Management for Menopause Symptoms

While the symptoms and changes associated with menopause can be challenging, implementing lifestyle changes can make a difference in the intensity of symptoms. A few lifestyle changes and how they can impact menopause symptoms include: 

  • Diet and nutrition: Certain foods can alleviate menopausal symptoms, while others may worsen them.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity helps manage weight and mood swings during menopause.
  • Sleep: Adequate sleep is crucial for overall well-being, with menopausal women often experiencing sleep disturbances.
  • Stress management techniques: Practices like mindfulness and yoga can effectively reduce stress levels, easing the emotional toll of menopause.

Medical Treatments and Therapies

Taking a personalized approach to menopause symptom management is vital because all women have unique needs and experiences. However, there are several options available. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one of the most common treatments for menopause symptoms. HRT can be highly effective but also comes with risks and side effects that may not be desirable to some. 

Non-hormonal medical treatments are also available for symptom management, such as medicinal support for symptoms of depression or to help with sleep. Many women find relief with alternative therapies as well, even though many have not been extensively covered, such as herbal supplements for hot flashes and acupuncture to deter mood swings. 

Preparing for Menopause

If you are approaching menopause, the most important thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge and recognize the importance of regular health check-ups and early symptom management. Building a support system, including family, friends and healthcare providers, is also a good step. While menopause may sound troubling, taking a proactive approach can make a significant impact on your experience throughout and after the onset of symptoms. 

Trust the Coyle Institute for Menopause Support and Management

At the Coyle Institute, we take a patient-centered approach to menopause management by tailoring treatment plans and recommendations to your needs. We may recommend integrating lifestyle changes with medical or holistic treatments to achieve the most positive outcome as you move through menopause into a new chapter in your life. 

We also work to help you understand your symptoms and provide professional guidance and support about any concerns that arise. If you are looking for help with menopause management, contact the Coyle Institute at 850-637-8258 to schedule a consultation. 

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