What Are the Signs of Menopause?

What Are the Signs of Menopause?

Menopause is the point in a woman's life when her ovaries stop releasing eggs. Her body then stops producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Menopause can be a confusing time, as it can start at different ages for different women. You can find out if you have reached menopause by talking to your doctor.

1. Hot Flashes

Hot flashes, also called flushes or night sweats, are the most common symptom of menopause and the perimenopause (the period before a woman's menstrual cycle stops). They occur when a drop in estrogen causes changes in the brain that control body temperature.

They cause sudden hot, red, and flushed skin, sweating, and sometimes a rapid heart rate or chills. They last from two to 30 minutes for each occurrence.

Women who have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure should talk to their doctors about the benefits of hormone replacement therapy for relieving hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Hormone therapy is safe for most women, and studies show that it reduces the risk of heart disease.

2. Night Sweats

Night sweats are a common menopause symptom that can occur anywhere from once a week to several times a night. These can be very uncomfortable.

The heavy sweating can also disrupt your sleep patterns. If you wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, this is especially distressing.

While these night sweats can be a sign of a more serious medical issue, there are things you can do to alleviate this symptom and improve your sleep.

Try to avoid things that can trigger your sweats, such as alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and smoking. If your sweats are accompanied by fever or unexplained weight loss, it’s best to see a doctor. You may need to be tested for a thyroid problem, low blood sugar, cancer or other serious health conditions.

3. Sleep Problems

As menopause hits, women's ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are involved in a number of body processes, including mood, appetite, sleep, sex drive and breathing.

These hormonal changes often interfere with a woman's sleep. Insomnia is a common and serious problem during menopause.

Hormone therapy is an effective treatment for insomnia during menopause because it boosts your hormone levels and helps relieve many of the symptoms. HRT can be taken in pill form or via a patch or vaginal cream.

Aside from medication, there are a variety of lifestyle changes that can help reduce your sleep problems. For example, avoiding napping during the day and following a regular sleep schedule are essential. Also, avoid caffeine or alcohol, as these can cause sleep disorders.

4. Weight Gain

Women often notice weight gain during menopause, even if they haven’t changed their diet or exercise habits. Typically, women gain about 1.5 pounds per year during this period, and most of it settles around their middle.

The weight gain during menopause isn’t necessarily because of hormones, but because as a woman ages, her body composition changes.

In particular, she loses muscle mass (called sarcopenia), which means she burns fewer calories and puts on fat more quickly.

Fortunately, you can prevent or reverse some of the effects of menopause-related weight gain by changing your eating and lifestyle habits. Here are some tips to help you get started.

5. Emotional Changes

The hormonal changes associated with menopause can have a huge impact on your mood.


Mood changes can make you feel anxious, sad, angry or depressed. These emotions can occur for no apparent reason or can be brought on by a range of things.

If you’re feeling down or depressed, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They will be able to help you find treatment that is right for you.

Emotional symptoms that accompany menopause (called perimenopause) are very common.

About two-thirds of women experience some sort of emotional symptom during this time.