Menopause happens when Ovaries stop releasing eggs and there is a withdrawal of Estrogen and Progesterone hormones, leading to absence of periods for 12 months. It may happen anytime in your forties to maximum upto early fifties.
Some women may transition into menopause without a symptom but others may have one or more of the following symptoms.
Irregular, scanty or infrequent periods around 45 yrs
Hot flashes: These are waves of heat that starts in your chest and face and then moves through your body. They usually start happening before you stop having period.
Night sweats: These are hot flashes happening during sleep. They can make it hard to get a good night's sleep.
Sleeplessness: General difficulty in sleeping at night even in the absence of night sweats
Vaginal dryness: Usually starting few years into Menopause leading to painful intercourse, frequent urinary tract infections, occasional post coital bleeding.
Depression: Feeling sad and anxious leading to sleeplessness.
Forgetfulness: Some experts believe Estrogen is an important hormone for good brain functioning.
Self managing the symptoms
Dress in layers so that you can remove them if you suddenly feel hot.
Keep the room temperature low and avoid hot drinks like Coffee and Tea.
Cold towel around neck may be helpful.
Quit smoking as it makes hot flashes worse.
Use vaginal lubricants or moisturisers while having Intercourse.
Go to sleep and get up same time even if you are not sleepy.
Avoid taking daytime naps.
Avoid coffee during second half of the day.
Minimise alcohol intake.
Try to stay active physically and mentally.
Pick up a new hobby, crossword puzzles, play cards etc
Join social groups.
Core strengthening exercises and meditation.
When to seek help when you are in your forties ?
If any of the above symptoms are troublesome enough to hamper your everyday life.
Persistent feeling of bloating not relieved on routine antacids.
Having periods more frequent than once in 3 weeks.
Heavy bleeding during periods.
Inter menstrual spotting .
Periods continuing beyond the age of 52yrs.
Its been Menopause (12 months without periods) already and you restart bleeding even if just spotting.