Hot flashes, fatigue, insomnia – what don’t we know about menopause? While there are several hallmark symptoms – like night sweats – plenty of lesser-known side effects catch many women off guard in their menopausal transition.
Menopause – frequently confused with perimenopause – occurs when a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. Women can enter menopause anywhere between 40 and 58 years old, and symptoms continue for about three years. A drop in estrogen and progesterone levels is often blamed for undesirable symptoms, manifesting in many different (and sometimes surprising) ways.
If you’re not sure what to expect during and after menopause, you’re not alone. To honor Menopause Awareness Month, here’s what they don't tell you about menopause and how you can conquer undesirable symptoms.
Hormonal changes and hot flashes frequently lead to sleep problems during menopause. For example, progesterone – a sleep-producing hormone – decreases during menopause, making it difficult for many women to fall asleep and stay asleep. On top of this, a sudden hot flash may cause night sweats, leading to additional discomfort.
If a lack of sleep makes you feel like you’re running on empty, consider adding a 20-minute catnap into your daily routine for an added energy boost. Then, before you hit the hay at night, take supplements like melatonin and magnesium to boost your sleep quality.
Not-So-Random Hot Flashes
When you think of menopause symptoms, hot flashes are likely at the top of the list. However, they may not be as unpredictable or out of control as you think.
Yes, wavering estrogen and progesterone levels can cause hot flashes and night sweats – but they’re not the only culprit. Menopause-induced hormonal imbalances make it difficult for the body to control its internal temperature when faced with a trigger. That being said, it’s essential to know what may kickstart a hot flash (and, subsequently, what you should avoid):
- Hot drinks
- Spicy foods
- Tight clothing
If you’re experiencing disruptive hot flashes or night sweats, consider investing in moisture-wicking pajamas and loungewear!
Softies’ breathable and luxuriously soft sleepwear and loungewear are designed to keep you comfortable and sweat-free 24/7. Additionally, our Wellness Fabric collection with patented drirelease® technology keeps you cool so you can confidently face hot flashes and night sweats.
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Without sufficient estrogen levels, the body undergoes several physical changes, including:
- Dry skin. Estrogen stimulates the body’s production of collagen and oils, which keep the skin moisturized. As estrogen dwindles, the skin dries out.
- Weight gain. Low estrogen levels cause our body to hold onto fat, especially around the stomach and hips. Many women experience this symptom regardless of previous physical activity levels.
- Incontinence. Estrogen keeps the bladder and urethra healthy. As estrogen drops, the pelvic floor weakens, and urinary incontinence worsens.
Remember that it’s ok for your body to experience changes during this time – it happens to the best of us! Although some of these changes are unfavorable, they’re manageable. For example, moisturizing your skin will help you avoid dryness, and regular exercise will keep your weight in check.
Heavier Periods – And Then No Periods
During perimenopause – the transitional period that occurs before menopause – fluctuations in menstrual flow are common. They may be shorter or last longer, and you may bleed more or less than usual. Heavier periods may occur as the body reduces higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) to maintain regular ovulation. Furthermore, you might notice that periods become more spaced out.
Be sure to stock up on non-toxic period supplies and see your doctor if your flow becomes unmanageable, as it may indicate other health concerns.
Some health concerns can be attributed to hormonal fluxes, including:
- Heart palpitations. Although they may catch you off guard, don’t fret – it’s likely because of hormonal imbalance. However, if palpitations last for more than a few minutes or causes you to feel faint or short of breath, speak with your doctor.
- Increase in LDL cholesterol. Unlike HDL cholesterol, which helps our body eliiminate excess cholesterol, LDL cholesterol takes cholesterol to your arteries and causes unwanted buildup. During menopause, LDL tends to rise while HDL stays the same.
- Migraines and brain fog. Wavering estrogen levels are responsible for both migraines and brain fog.
These changes are expected during menopause. However, if they become difficult to manage, speak with your doctor to ensure no other health concerns are to blame.
Changes in Desire
A decrease in sexual desire during menopause is common – but did you know that it may also increase sexual desire? Menopause is a hormonal roller coaster; you’ll experience many highs and lows regarding your libido.
Experiencing menopause doesn’t mean that you should stop having sex. However, if vaginal dryness or painful sex is an issue, use a lubricant or see your OB-GYN for additional remedies.
Hormonal fluctuations may leave you feeling moody, antisocial, depressed or anxious. Although there are biological reasons for these mood changes, let’s face it – experiencing menopause is difficult.
If you need help managing your mood, incorporate regular self-care practices or ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Remember that you are not alone in your experience and that taking a step back whenever you need to is ok.
Read More: 10 Positive Affirmations for Menopause and Women's Health
Pregnancy Is Still Possible
Pregnancy is still a possibility during perimenopause and early menopause. Although many women become more lax with birth control during this time, it’s important to remember that you’re still fertile.
If you’re hoping to avoid pregnancy, ensure that you use a reliable form of birth control. And birth control isn’t just good for preventing pregnancy – hormonal birth control may help you manage your menopause symptoms.
Read More: 5 Menopause Relaxation Techniques to Enhance Your Well-Being
Get Comfortable in Softies Luxury Loungewear
Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, and staying comfortable throughout the process is critical in making the transition as effortless as possible.
Softies’ luxury loungewear, sleepwear and robes are designed to keep you cool and comfortable around the clock. Our timeless styles and buttery-soft fabrics boost relaxation the moment they touch your skin, leaving you feeling relaxed and ready to face menopause symptoms with confidence.
Experience the Softies difference and try our ultra-smooth, moisture-wicking styles today!