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Menopause and Perimenopause - Symptoms

The first sign that you are nearing menopause is a change in your menstrual periods. They may become less frequent. And they may be lighter or heavier than you're used to.

Menopause symptoms range from mild (or none) to severe. They include:

Recommended Related to Menopause

It's Not Your Mother's Menopause

Menopause symptoms, like hot flashes and drop in sex drive, haven't changed. But the way women deal with menopause has. "Women are becoming more accepting of the physical and emotional challenges that are associated with menopause and accepting them as natural, transitional changes," says Karen Giblin. She's the founder of Red Hot Mamas, a national menopause education program. "They're focusing on feeling good and looking at menopause more positively."

Read the It's Not Your Mother's Menopause article > >

  • Hot flashes.
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia).
  • Emotional changes, such as mood swings or irritability.
  • A change in sexual interest or response.
  • Problems with concentration and memory that are linked to sleep loss and fluctuating hormones (not a permanent sign of aging).
  • Headaches.
  • Rapid, irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations).

These symptoms usually go away after 1 or 2 years. But some women have them for several years longer.

Other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Examples include pregnancy; a significant change in weight; depression; anxiety; or uterine, thyroid, or pituitary problems.

Menopause caused by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy can cause more severe symptoms than usual. Preexisting conditions such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, or irritability can also make symptoms worse.

Later symptoms

After you stop having menstrual periods, you may get other symptoms, including:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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