The end of monthly menstruation due to loss of ovarian follicular function usually marks menopause for most women. The age at which menopause occurs is often in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States. Although Alamo Heights menopause is a natural biological process, hormonal changes can affect physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. These symptoms vary substantially from person to person, but the most common ones include:

Vaginal dryness and discomfort

Your body produces less estrogen around the time of menopause and even after. Estrogen maintains the vagina’s lubrication, thickness, and elasticity, so lower levels of this hormone can cause thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls. As such, you may experience discomfort when having sex or irritation when putting on your underwear due to vulva dryness. For vaginal dryness, your healthcare provider may recommend using a lubricant to decrease discomfort during sex. Estrogen treatment may also help; it can be a cream, pessary, gel, or vaginal ring. The estrogen cream moisturizes and lubricates your vaginal walls, making penetrative sex more comfortable.

Your healthcare provider may advise keeping your vaginal estrogen since the symptoms will likely recur when you discontinue treatment.

Mood changes

Emotional changes are part of menopause for most women; you may experience anxiety, crankiness, anger, and feelings of sadness. You can exercise, get enough sleep, practice mindfulness, and engage in relaxing activities like tai chi and yoga to improve your mood. If you experience depression symptoms during this time and cannot cope, see your doctor. They may recommend therapy or prescribe medications like antidepressants to help you manage symptoms.

Decreased sex drive

A change in libido or sex drive is a common symptom during menopause; you might experience an increase or decrease in libido. Not all women experience decreased sex drive, but it is very common. Decreased hormone levels account for most cases of lower libido during menopause. The decreased hormone levels can result in vaginal dryness and tightness, causing pain during sex. Other menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, depression, mood swings, and weight gain, can make you less interested in sex. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes and sex aids such as lubricants to help you increase your sex drive. If at-home remedies are ineffective, your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy to treat underlying hormone changes.

Hot flashes and night sweats

Occasionally, everyone wakes up at night but, ideally, rolls over and goes back to sleep. However, hot flashes and night sweats resulting from menopause can make it difficult to go back to sleep once you are up. To help manage hot flashes and night sweats, you want to keep your bedroom cool at night; keep your window open for air to flow more easily. Use cotton sheets and a light blanket instead of a heavy duvet. Wearing loose, cotton pajamas will also help you stay cooler than other materials. Spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine trigger hot flashes, so it is best to avoid them.

To learn more about managing menopause symptoms, consult your doctor at Cornforth Gynecology and Medspa.

By Alexander James

Beau Alexander James: Beau, a mental health advocate, shares personal stories, coping strategies, and promotes mental health awareness and understanding.