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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:

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Understanding Menopause -- Treatment

After menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often prescribed to resupply the body with the hormones it no longer produces. Discuss this with your doctor. As with any medication, there are risks and benefits, and each woman should decide if HRT is the right choice for her. HRT typically consists of an estrogen/progestin supplement -- usually given orally or through a skin patch or gel. Estrogen is the component that treats hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and increased risk of heart disease...

Read the Understanding Menopause -- Treatment 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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