Symptoms of menopause arrive when your estrogen levels start changing. A woman's body can go through several kinds of changes at the same time.
Early in menopause, estrogen levels can rise sharply and then drop, which means you may skip periods or even have heavier flow than usual some months. Your period may become increasingly irregular, and then eventually stop altogether.
The first changes most women notice are hot flashes, mood swings, and sadness (depression). You also may have problems during sex, either because of vaginal dryness or lack of desire. Eventually as your estrogen stays at a low level, the hot flashes, changing moods, and confusion usually disappear. You still have to protect yourself from bone loss and heart disease, however.
Menopause can affect your body organs and systems in many different ways:
BLOOD VESSELS: Quick body temperature changes (hot flashes) and waking during the night;
BRAIN/NERVES: Moods that change frequently or a tendency toward sadness or anger. Some women become more confused or notice they are not able to concentrate as well as usual;
GENITALS: Problems with dryness, itching, pain during sexual intercourse, or irritation of the tissues in and around the vagina;
URINARY SYSTEM: Problems with sudden or frequent urinating;
BONE: A higher risk of weaker bones, osteoporosis, and bone breaks;
HEART: Acceleration of risk factors associated with heart attacks and other heart problems, perhaps at least in part because levels of lipids (fat) in the blood may rise;
SKIN: Problems with thinner skin, wrinkling, and blemishes as estrogen levels drop.
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