Today we’re going to continue our list of common symptoms of menopause from my last article, as well as discussing how you can thrive during and after menopause. Here’s what you may have missed:
Common Symptoms of Menopause – Continued
Women who are eating a healthy diet with an appropriate number of calories can still struggle to lose weight, or even to keep from gaining more. If you’re frustrated with failing to lose weight when you truly think your diet and activity levels should allow you to do so, hormones are a likely culprit – especially in women experiencing menopausal symptoms.
Loss of Libido
Losing interest in bedroom activities can be hard on relationships, and frustrating to women (and their partners) who have previously had a healthy sex life.
For some women, the issue isn’t really a loss of interest in sex – it’s that it has become too painful to enjoy. Thinning tissues and vaginal dryness are menopause symptoms that occur in many women.
Just as it is common for women to experience acne around when their periods start in their teens, it can reoccur as menopause sets in.
Swelling in the belly area can occur as oestrogen levels fluctuate. Higher levels may cause water retention that leads to this uncomfortable sensation.
Anxiety can have many causes, and hormone swings are certainly one of them.
Women may experience occasional or frequent dizzy spells. In some cases, this can lead to a risk of injury from falling. Menopausal symptoms such as dizziness can be life-changing, as it becomes more difficult (or dangerous) to participate in previously-enjoyed activities. This can also lead to having to give up certain aspects of one’s independence if left untreated.
There are a couple of reasons why incontinence becomes more common with menopause. One is that the bladder may not communicate as well when it is full, so that the urge to urinate may come too late. Another is that pelvic floor muscles may become weaker, so that urinary leakage occurs when coughing, laughing, sneezing or at other times. There’s just not as much power available to “hold back” urine. Kegel (pelvic floor muscle) exercises can assist with this situation.
Headaches can have many causes, and it’s important that doctors don’t patronizingly dismiss any health issues of a woman in her 40’s and 50’s as menopausal symptoms. With that said, sometimes treating dropping hormone levels can provide relief from frequent or increasing headaches during menopause.
Loss of Muscle Mass
Hormonal changes can result in a loss of muscle mass, which can be made worse if your diet doesn’t provide adequate protein. Some women have found a ketogenic diet helpful, in combination with light exercise.
Joint pain can increase because oestrogen seems to help manage inflammation. Since oestrogen levels drop during menopause, symptoms of inflammatory disease such as arthritis can become worse. Diminishing bone density (see Osteoporosis) can also contribute to joint pain. Stretching exercises, as well as certain supplements, can be helpful, as can acupuncture and kinesiology. All of these treatments are available in our holistic clinic in Hong Kong.
Muscle Tension and/or Soreness
Increased tension in muscles, as well as stiffness and soreness, can be another of the symptoms of menopause for some women.
We do a lot of allergy testing at our clinic, and many people don’t realize that allergies and sensitivities can develop even if you’ve never had them before as your body’s immune system is triggered. Hormonal changes, such as from menopause, are one of the reasons why. Existing allergies can also become more severe.
Osteoporosis is one of the more serious risks of untreated symptoms of menopause. As oestrogen levels drop, bone loss can increase rapidly and evolve into osteoporosis. This disorder decreases bone mass and density, and increases the risk for Osteoporotic bone breaks (fractures) in the hip, spine, wrist or other bones. Dietary changes, gentle exercise, and supplements can help considerably, especially when the treatment begins early.
Collagen loss can result from hormonal changes, which makes the skin thinner and dryer, more prone to wrinkles, and less youthful looking.
Itching or Tingling
As skin becomes dryer, it can feel itchy and irritated. Some women experience a tingling or even burning sensation in their arms, hands, legs, or feet.
Heart Palpitations or Irregular Heartbeat
In a few cases, estrogen deficiency can trigger overstimulation of the nervous or circulatory systems. If you experience any abnormal heartbeat activity, it’s essential that you talk to your doctor at once. Irregular heartbeat, palpitations, and arrhythmias can be a signal of a serious medical issue.
Breast pain in one or both breasts can result from hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause and menopause. Throbbing, soreness or tenderness can result from hormones causing fluid buildup.
Tips For Thriving During And After Menopause
- Get lots of light exercise, including Kegels (pelvic floor exercises). Any gentle activity is good for the body and the mind.
- Keep learning. Find out more about something that fascinates you.
- Get involved. Find an association or a job or a volunteer opportunity that relates to something you’re passionate about. If you’re a reader, join Literacy Unlimited. If you’ve always wanted to be more assertive, join Toastmasters.
- Start new projects, or get involved in other peoples. Crafts, business projects, building projects… figure out what would be interesting to you and dive in!
- Enjoy some quiet time too. Buy some good books.
- Find a good physician who stays up to date on changes in their field, and who listens to you. Get your hormones checked regularly. Have your thyroid checked. Make sure your heart is taken care of, as heart disease is the number one cause of death in post-menopausal women. Get health help when you need it.
- Learn and practice good sleep hygiene. Get lots of good rest. Get help if you cannot sleep well.
- Experiment a little with your sexuality, whether on your own or with a partner. This is a good time to try out some new lubricants or sex toys.
Struggling With Menopausal Symptoms?
If you’re in Hong Kong, call my clinic today at (+852) 2523 8044 and we’ll help you get relief from your own specific symptoms of menopause.