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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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  • 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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