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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

Understanding Menopause -- Symptoms

Not all women experience symptoms prior to or following menopause, which is defined as the time when a woman has naturally ceased having menstrual periods for one year. If menopausal symptoms occur, they may include hot flashes, night sweats, pain during intercourse due to vaginal dryness, and increased anxiety or irritability.  

Read the Understanding Menopause -- Symptoms 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:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 30, 2013
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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