Besides a break in the regularity of a monthly menstrual flow, there is a long list of menopausal symptoms that include the following:
Irritability, depression, weight gain, vaginal dryness, low libido, increased inflammation in joints and muscles, hot flashes, night sweats, forgetfulness, foggy thinking, more frequent headaches, difficulty sleeping, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, incontinence, itchy skin, breast tenderness, gastrointestinal distress, bloating, increased allergic reaction, thinning hair, tingling in the extremities, gum problems, including bleeding gums, change in taste, changes in fingernails and hair texture, and ringing in the ears.
Unfortunately these symptoms are often mistaken for other ailments and therefore not treated correctly. Oftentimes medicine treats the symptom but fails to treat the root cause of the problem. For example, if you have gastrointestinal problems, you’re given an antacid. For depression or anxiety you’re given Prozac, and for insomnia an Ambien. These are just band aids that mask the real problem. You owe it to yourself to be proactive about your health and to find out what’s REALLY causing these problems, then treat the cause, not just the symptom.
Women in a wide range of ages often ask me whether it’s normal to be experiencing symptoms of menopause even though they believe they’re too young to be starting it. The fact is that menopause symptoms can sneak up on you when you’re younger. They can actually start up to 10 years before menopause itself occurs! When you’re in your 30’s and 40’s, it’s possible for those symptoms to be misdiagnosed as thyroid disease or other disorders, including thyroid disease, depression, anxiety or other signs of hormonal imbalance. However, this may not be the case and may, in fact, be early menopause. You might feel great for two weeks then the next two weeks you’re weepy and irritable. If you are still experiencing a normal menstrual cycle, quite often all you need to do is ensure that your progesterone levels are adequate, which can prevent many of the unpleasant symptoms some women experience.