If you answer Yes to any of the following questions, a visit to your health-care provider is recommended. Keep in mind that some symptoms of menopause are also associated with other conditions (learn more).
These are common signs that menopause is approaching. Fortunately, they typically go away over time. Smart lifestyle choices can help minimize these symptoms, and therapeutic treatments can help restore your quality of life.
Be gentle with yourself, you’re not alone. Women often experience mood changes during perimenopause (the period leading up to menopause) and after menopause. Sometimes these changes are linked to other symptoms of menopause such as difficulty sleeping.
These symptoms aren’t unique to perimenopause and menopause, but they may be part of the transition. Recognize this is normal—one of the effects of fluctuating hormone levels.
Nearly 40 percent of women say they do—taking longer to fall asleep, or experiencing nighttime waking or sleep apnea (interrupted breathing during sleep). Often, sleep issues are experienced most strongly by women in perimenopause and by those who have had a hysterectomy (surgical menopause).
Leading up to menopause and after, the estrogen levels in a woman’s body decrease. This can affect the skin’s collagen and cause wrinkles, bring on joint pain, and cause fatigue. Many women also report gaining weight around their waistlines. In general metabolism slows with age, but a healthy diet and regular exercise can help keep off unwanted pounds.
Technically you haven’t reached menopause until you’ve gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, although the emotional and physical symptoms associated with menopause can show up earlier—during perimenopause. Most women begin perimenopause in their late 40s; often, menopause does not occur until years later.
Between 30 and 50 percent of women say their desire for sex lessens in menopause. Aside from hormonal fluctuations, fatigue, stress and body image can all affect your libido. Open communication with your partner is important, and counselling support may be helpful.
These are common symptoms in the years after menopause. Apart from creating discomfort, they can lower your sex drive. A variety of solutions are available to help you overcome these challenges, including estrogen therapies, antibiotics and applied creams.
Unexpected leaking of urine from the bladder (incontinence) is common among perimenopausal and post-menopausal women—and it’s treatable. While you may feel embarrassed to talk about bladder control, discussing the issue with your health-care provider is important: corrective options can help you avoid longer-term health problems such as frequent urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, and vaginal bleeding.
Some women suffer from low self-esteem and depression in menopause, especially when they see it as a sign of aging. If you’re finding it hard to cope, seek counselling support from your health-care provider. Talk through the issues, and investigate therapeutic options. The help you need is available.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
780 Echo Drive Ottawa, ON K1S 5R7Tel: (800) 561-2416 or (613) 730-4192 | Fax: (613) 730-4314
This public education website is administered by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, to provide women and their families with unbiased, accurate and up-to-date information about menopause. The information presented here is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician.