Menopause is a life event that visits all women at some stage. Although the age at which women experience menopause varies, most women find that it hits between 45 and 60 years old. The initial signs you experience will vary too, and some can be quite subtle. By learning more about them, you can decide when to visit a gynaecologist for treatments such as hormone replacement therapy.
Your Periods Are Irregular
If you usually experience regular periods and they suddenly become hard to predict, you may be in the perimenopause phase. For your periods to remain regular, you need a consistent rise and fall in oestrogen and progesterone levels. As these hormones fluctuate rapidly during perimenopause, your periods experience disruption.
There are ways for your gynaecologist to test for fluctuating hormone levels. They will need to perform blood tests on specific days of the month, though, to track your follicle-stimulating hormone levels. Before visiting a gynaecological specialist, make sure you identify your usual cycle patterns so they can test your hormone levels at the right time.
You Urinate More Often
As you produce less oestrogen, your urethra will become thinner. You may also experience pelvic relaxation, which is where the muscles that form your pelvic floor begin weakening too.
A combination of a thinner urethra and weaker pelvic floor may make you more sensitive to small volumes of urine in your bladder. As a result, you'll need to urinate more regularly, and you may also experience stress incontinence. Your gynaecologist can perform tests that assess the strength of your pelvic floor, and they may recommend treatment options such as physiotherapy.
Your Mood Changes
As your oestrogen and progesterone levels continue to decline, you may notice changes in your mood. Some women report experiencing anxiety about matters that don't usually bother them. Additionally, you may find that you're more irritable than normal.
Menopause can also affect your sleep, especially when you're experiencing hot flashes. Alongside a decline in your usual hormone levels, a lack of sleep has an adverse effect on your mood.
Speaking with your gynaecologist is the best way to identify whether you're going through the early phases of menopause. They can perform tests that identify telltale biological signs, and they can make recommendations for treatment options. Some may suggest treatments such as hormone replacement therapy, which can help to offset some of the symptoms you experience. By speaking with a professional, you can make transitioning through menopause easier.