Have you experienced changes to your cycle? It might be an early sign that you're entering menopause. It's a natural part of aging, and every woman goes through it. Menopause signals the end of your reproductive years and the start of your "Golden Years."
Typically, women enter perimenopause, the first stage of menopause, in their 40s or 50s. The ovaries slow down your normal estrogen hormone production and your cycle changes. There are three stages of menopause.
What are the Symptoms of Menopause?
When menopause arrives, you'll experience several changes in your body due to the drop in estrogen production by the ovaries. Some symptoms are acute, while others are chronic.
When hormone production fluctuates during menopause, women experience hot flashes. These feel like sudden sensations of heat in your body, affecting the head, chest, and face. You might experience flushing, sweating, and accelerated heart rate.
If you wake up at night sweating, it's a sign of a hot flash occurring while you sleep. Hot flashes affect up to 75% of women, with the most common treatment for the condition being hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
HRT rebalances the hormones, ending the flashes. Most women find they experience hot flashes during perimenopause. When you enter menopause, your estrogen production is at rock bottom, and the issue resolves itself.
Heavy Irregular Periods
Perimenopause can last anywhere from four to eight years before entering full menopause. You'll know you're in full menopause when you haven't had your period for 12 months. During perimenopause, hormone production is erratic, swinging wildly from one extreme to the next.
Along with hot flashes, these hormone changes cause irregular periods and changes to your flow. Approximately 90% of perimenopausal women experience heavier periods and clotting in their menstrual blood.
Almost 80% of women will experience three periods lasting longer than ten days during perimenopause. The bleeding will be heavy on three of those days. Low dose birth control tablets remedy this problem, giving you similar results to HRT.
Changes in your hormone profile also affect your mental health. You might find your mood shifts all the time. You might be happy one day and feel miserable the next. Emotions relating to sadness and anger can intensify, causing you to act out of character.
The fluctuating estrogen levels in your body also impact serotonin production, causing these mood shifts. Around 25% of all perimenopausal women experience feelings of anxiety, depression, or sadness.
Reduce stress where you can, and try to exercise at least three times a week. These strategies reduce anxiety and stress and give you more control over your emotions. Download a meditation app and try meditating in the morning and night to calm your mind.
Practice self-care and treat yourself to a massage to destress. Talk to friends and family about how you're feeling, and if you feel depressed, consult with your doctor.
Decreased Sleep Quality
Up to 50% of perimenopausal women experience issues with their sleep quality. Hot flashes wake them at night, and they find they wake frequently during the night. These issues add up to lower sleep quality and less therapeutic value from your sleep.
Less sleep puts pressure on your nervous system and already fragile mental health. It becomes a spiral where you feel worse and worse. Stress and anxiety activate the "sympathetic nervous system," which controls the "fight-or-flight" response.
This response floods the body with adrenaline and cortisol to help you deal with life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, perimenopause makes you feel anxious, stressed, and on edge. Sleeping when you think this way is challenging, leading to tossing and turning and bouts of insomnia.
Cognitive & Memory Problems
The reduction in estrogen production not only affects your physiology and mental health but also hampers brain function. You find it hard to focus and recall memories, developing a condition known as "brain fog." This condition affects up to 60% of women.
According to the experts, these brain fog symptoms only start to clear in postmenopause. Fortunately, brain fog isn't an indicator of dementia or degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer's. Exercising regularly and improving sleep quality are the best ways to lift brain fog.
Vaginal Dryness & Painful Sex
Possibly the most frustrating part of perimenopause and menopause is the vaginal dryness that occurs due to the lack of estrogen in the body. The vagina is self-lubricating, using secretions from the cervical gland to lubricate the vaginal walls during sex.
In menopause, women experience "vaginal atrophy," which thins the vaginal walls and stops the secretion of lubricant from the cervix gland. As a result, women develop vaginal dryness. The skin tightens on the vaginal wall, and the tissues thin, leading to painful sex.
The dryness also causes burning, itching, and irritation during the day and at night. This discomfort can dramatically reduce your quality of life and require immediate treatment for relief.
Treatment Options for Menopause & Vaginal Dryness
Women entering perimenopause have several options to help them manage their condition.
- Herbal medicine
- Physical activity
- Mental wellbeing
Doctors will recommend the best strategy to help you cope with the symptoms of menopause. HRT is the most common option, but it's not suitable for all women. Individuals who don't qualify for hormone replacement can look to natural strategies to help them deal with symptoms.
Try Lubracil for Relief from Vaginal Dryness
Lubracil is a potent extract of sea buckthorn oil. This natural lubricant comes in soft gel pills that you take every day. The supplement's Omega EFAs and vitamin E help moisten the vaginal walls and improve secretions from the cervix gland.
With regular use, you can expect results in a few weeks and a sustainable, long-term solution to dryness. Some women use natural or synthetic lubricants to soothe their vaginal dryness, but they require reapplication, and they don't do much to stop irritation during the day.
Lubracil works from the inside out, giving your body the raw materials it needs to keep the vagina lubricated. Try it for yourself and experience the difference.