Although medical researchers have pinpointed as many as 34 symptoms of menopause, not all women experience all symptoms. The most common symptoms include mood swings, hot flashes, irregular periods, weight gain, and vaginal dryness.
However, these common symptoms can often escalate into some of the worst symptoms of menopause - like anxiety, depression, insomnia, low libido, and pain during sex.
To understand more about the worst menopause symptoms and what you can do to treat them without worrying about the underlying risks of hormone therapy, keep reading.
Menopause is a natural biological process that signals the end of a female’s reproductive stage of life and it typically happens in three stages – perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. The entire process can last anywhere from seven to fourteen years.
During perimenopause, which typically occurs in the late 40s, the ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and menopause symptoms commence. These can include irregular menstruation, sporadic hot flashes, mood swings, dry skin, weight gain, and breast tenderness. Perimenopause usually lasts four to eight years but it can be much shorter for some women.
Menopause is diagnosed once a woman has not menstruated for twelve consecutive months, meaning the ovaries are no longer producing eggs. This typically occurs in the mid 50’s, however, it can be much earlier or later, depending on the woman.
By this stage, common perimenopause symptoms have usually intensified and additional symptoms like night sweats, interrupted sleep, and vaginal dryness also kick in. Joint pain, aching muscles, headaches, unexplained itchiness, tingling extremities, thinning hair, and lack of concentration are also reported symptoms during this phase.
Postmenopause typically encompasses the 5-7 years after menopause. Although common menopause symptoms may continue for up to five years after a woman’s last menstrual period, they generally lower in intensity as time passes. Because of the lowered levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are also more susceptible to heart disease and osteoporosis.
What Are The Worst Symptoms of Menopause & How to Treat Them?
Although menopause signals a biological change in the female reproductive system, the ensuing side symptoms can affect the physical body in various ways. Below we’ve outlined how the most common menopause symptoms can escalate into the worst symptoms of menopause if left untreated.
We’ve also outlined the most effective natural remedies to treat each.
1. Menopausal Mood Swings, Anxiety or Depression
One of the most common symptoms of menopause is mood swings. This is due to the connection between estrogen levels and the happiness booster serotonin, which is produced in the brain and is largely responsible for regulating emotions. Simply put, when estrogen levels drop, the production of serotonin also drops, and emotions like anger, frustration, patience, and worry become more difficult to manage.
Women experiencing mood swings during menopause often blame and judge themselves for losing their temper, worrying too much, or feeling sad for no explainable reason. When left unchecked, this type of self-blame and judgment can spiral into anxiety and even depression. And for many women, this loss of happiness and good moods is the worse symptom of menopause.
How to Treat Mood Swings During Menopause
When it comes to treating menopausal mood swings, accepting that they are going to happen is one of the biggest ways to help yourself. Mood swings during menopause typically subside as quickly as they arise, and if your loved ones are informed about the lack of control you have over your emotional surges, you will learn to apologize and move on.
You can also help the pituitary gland to rebalance your hormones and regulate menopausal mood swings by taking a natural supplement called Chasteberry. Also known by its Latin name Vitex agnus-castus, this natural remedy from a berry tree native to the Mediterranean contains phytoestrogens that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and, in turn, improve your mood.
In contrast to hormone therapy, Chasteberry supplements do not increase the risk of breast or uterine cancer. But when taken daily they can reduce mood swings and treat additional perimenopause and menopausal symptoms like breast tenderness, hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
2. Sleep Disturbances & Insomnia
Although fatigue is a commonly reported symptom of menopause, it is usually the sleep disturbances during the night that are at the root of many women’s tiredness.
Night sweats, along with the changes that occur in the brain and the increased heart rate just before a nocturnal hot flash, are one of the main causes of disrupted sleep during menopause. Heightened levels of worry and depression that can develop from untreated menopausal mood swings are also responsible for disturbed sleep or lack of sleep during this phase of life.
While some women can easily fall back to sleep after waking abruptly, many cannot, and this can have severe knock-on effects during menopause. As well as causing fatigue during the day, a lack of sound sleep can also cause menopausal women to worry about not sleeping well again the following night. This type of worry can result in anxiety about sleep and eventually lead to insomnia.
How to Improve Sleep During Menopause
Chasteberry Supplements are one of the most effective natural remedies to improve sleep during menopause. By helping to manage menopausal mood swings, this natural supplement minimizes anxiety and feelings of depression, allowing the mind to more easily relax into your nightly slumber. The phytoestrogens in chasteberry are also effective at minimizing hot flashes and night sweats to allow for better sleep during menopause.
In addition to a daily intake of chasteberry, avoiding the usual stimulants like alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and screentime a few hours before bedtime will allow the body and mind to better prepare for sleep. Exercising during the day and doing some light yoga followed by a bedtime meditation is also helpful to improve sleep during menopause.
3. Vaginal Dryness & Low Libido
Due to the decreased levels of estrogen, many women notice vaginal changes during menopause. Less estrogen means less blood flow to the vaginal tissues, which can cause the vaginal walls to thin and also lower the production of natural lubrication.
These types of changes can lead to a condition known as vaginal atrophy, or vaginal dryness, which comes with additional symptoms like a feeling of tightness in the vagina, genital itching, incontinence, a burning sensation while peeing, and pain during sex. Lowered levels of estrogen also increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis and recurring urinary tract infections during menopause.
The pain that vaginal dryness can cause during sex often contributes to low libido, which can be the worst symptom of menopause for women who previously enjoyed a happy sex life.
How to Treat Vaginal Dryness & Low Libido During Menopause
Mild pain during sex is often down to friction and micro tears of the vaginal walls due to dryness caused by low estrogen levels. In these cases, using a water-based lubricant before and during sex can successfully relieve the discomfort. Organic vaginal moisturizers that will not further irritate the sensitive genital skin can also be applied daily, and after sex, to keep dry vaginal skin hydrated during menopause.
However, if vaginal dryness is causing severe pain during sex, or is affecting your quality of life, silicone vaginal dilators will help you to relieve vaginal tightness and enjoy penetrative sex again, well into your elderly years.
4. Weight Gain That Leads to Poor Health
Women gain weight during menopause due to several factors including a decline in estrogen, lack of physical activity, slower metabolism, and eating differently due to mood swings. Bloating caused by gas, stress, slower digestion, and water retention can also appear as weight gain during menopause.
Between the bloating and extra weight gain, many women find their confidence, self-esteem, and overall health lowering during this stage of life. But even though weight gain during menopause might seem uncontrollable, there are ways to keep your weight on track and stay healthy.
Treating Weight Gaining During Menopause
Weight gain is one of the worst symptoms of menopause for many women, and managing it essentially comes down to lifestyle choices. Because the metabolism slows with aging, many women find that eating healthier foods slows the possibility of weight gain during menopause. Eating less processed food, for example, and more vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains can have a significant impact on your weight during menopause.
When cravings hit, which they often do during menopause, nutritionists recommend eating healthy snacks like dark chocolate and nuts instead of reaching for sugary treats. Drinking at least 1.5-2 liters of water per day will also prevent you from snacking too much between meals and keep you hydrated at the same time.
Exercising regularly is also important during menopause, not only to manage your weight but to keep your heart, mind, and bones healthy too. Studies have shown that short intense bursts of exercise that increase the heart rate have more of an impact during menopause than doing light exercise for 40-60 minutes. Think of HIIT sessions, cross-training, spinning, hiking, or brisk walking for 10-15 minutes twice or three times a week.
Even though menopause is a natural process of change in the female body, its physical and emotional symptoms can negatively affect women’s quality of life in several ways. Mood swings, hot flashes, disrupted sleep, weight gain, and vaginal dryness are some of the worst symptoms of menopause for many women. When hormone therapy is not an option, these symptoms are often left untreated, meaning women suffer through menopause for years with no relief.
To relieve menopause symptoms like mood swings, disturbed sleep, and hot flashes without using hormone replacement, speak to your healthcare professional about taking a daily chasteberry supplement. To naturally treat vaginal dryness and return to a pleasurable sex life during menopause, vaginal dilators, water-based lubricants, and organic vaginal moisturizers will help get you back on track.
Medical News Today – What Are The 34 Symptoms of Menopause - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-are-the-34-symptoms-of-menopause
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