Menopause Symptoms to Discuss With Your Healthcare Provider

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Menopause is a time of shifting hormones and new symptoms—some of which can interfere with your life. Hot flashes, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, and mood swings are common during menopause.

However, some effects of menopause may be more than just annoying. When estrogen and progesterone levels drop, potentially harmful health conditions can emerge.

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Heavy Bleeding

The abnormal menstrual bleeding of perimenopause (cycle intervals or bleeding duration) usually has a hormonal component and is often associated with anovulation. Excessive bleeding can lead to serious blood loss and anemia.

When your periods become irregular during menopause, you might blame all menstrual irregularities on hormonal changes, potentially ignoring serious medical issues. Heavy periods can also be a sign of other health issues, such as blood clotting problems, benign growths, or pre-cancerous changes in the uterus.

Pay attention to the amount that you are bleeding for a couple of cycles. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have any changes in your bleeding, either during your periods or at other times during your cycle.

Depression

The hormonal changes associated with menopause can trigger depression, which is among the major issues that can affect your quality of life.

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you notice you have any of the following signs of depression:

  • Crying more than usual
  • Feel hopeless or overwhelmingly anxious
  • Can’t enjoy things you used to, including sex
  • Lose your appetite
  • Have a weight gain or loss that you can’t really explain
  • Are irritable or angry more than usual

Depression can be treated. And the signs of depression can also signal other health issues, such as a neurological disorder. Consider confiding in a close friend or family member if you suspect you may be depressed. If you need a little moral support to encourage you to see a healthcare provider or counselor, ask a friend or partner to go with you to the first appointment.

If you are having thoughts about dying or hurting yourself, seek help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. During menopause, heart disease can begin to rear its head. Many people do not realize that after age 50, females have a high risk of heart disease. So it is important that you learn the symptoms of heart disease and get regular screening checkups.

If you experience chest pain, a burning sensation, difficulty breathing, sweating, fatigue, or sudden anxiety, call 911: these are signs of a heart attack and are a medical emergency.

Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations, which can manifest as the sensation of a racing pulse, are among the common signs of heart disease. This can also be associated with episodes of feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure might be the first sign that your cardiovascular system is beginning to show some wear and tear. As your hormones change during menopause, the walls of your blood vessels may become less flexible.

Hypertension is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Blood pressure usually climbs slowly and gradually, over months and years.

When you begin to see signs of menopause, get your blood pressure checked at least every six months. You can do it at a local drug store, fire station, or your healthcare provider's office, but try to have it done at the same place each time so you can compare it reliably.

See your healthcare provider right away if you find you are having any of the following signs of advanced hypertension:

  • Headaches that are more often or severe than usual
  • Trouble with your vision
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Problems with breathing, either at rest or after exercise
  • Any sort of chest pain
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Periods of confusion
  • Blood in your urine

While these are obvious signs of a serious problem, high blood pressure usually doesn't cause symptoms until complications arise.

A Word From Verywell

During perimenopause and menopause, it’s important to pay attention to your body. Most of the troublesome or dangerous effects of menopause are treatable. And keep in mind that taking care of your body can also mean taking care of your relationships—since severe menopausal symptoms might impact relationships.

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