The First Signs of Menopause
Angela Duncan, M.S. and Mary Jane Haake, CPCP
Perimenopause is referred to as the final cessation of your menstrual cycle and the time in which you will start the journey of menopause and menopausal symptoms. Mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain and vaginal dryness are just a few of the signs that you are heading towards the big change. Perimenopause is a different journey for every woman, but on average, it takes about a year to complete if you are heading into menopause naturally (not medically forced). The average age occurs between 45-55, after which time you are postmenopausal.
Common signs and symptoms of perimenopausal include the following:
• Missed Periods
• Hot Flashes
• Weight Gain
• Sleep Deprivation
• Mood Swings
• Sore Breasts
• Chronic Headaches
• Night Sweats
• Memory Problems
• Changes to skin and hair (pH balance changes)
As if these symptoms are not enough, there are a few others that I really want to focus on.
Vaginal Dryness is an unfortunate and uncomfortable early warning sign of menopause. Estrogen is needed to keep moisture in the skin, hair and vagina. Vaginal dryness can cause uncomfortable and painful sex but can also lead to other issues such as vaginal atrophy, which is when there is thinning of the tissue and even shorting and tightening of the vaginal canal. It is important to deal with vaginal dryness right away. Sex should never be painful and there are options available to make sure it never is.
Primary care doctors or gynecologist may prescribe a type of gel, prescription medication or a vaginal ring to help with dryness. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is another option but not all women can or want to add hormones back into their body. There are organic solutions available and it is important to do your research about those products. In The Pink moisture drops and intimate massage oils are estrogen free but work amazing at putting the moisture back into the vagina.
Chronic Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are a type of bladder issue that can affect women in perimenopause. UTI symptoms include urinating more frequently which can be painful, dark or bloody. Hormone changes are the culprit to frequent UTIs during menopause. These changes can cause vaginal bacteria to change, which increases your risk of not only getting a bladder infection but also experiencing them on a chronic basis.
Studies show that menopausal women tend to have a higher pH measurement, which can lead to the risk of developing UTIs. A UTI does not cause a higher vaginal pH, but having a high pH can increase a person’s risk of developing a UTI. Reduced estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can put a person at risk of developing more infections. In The Pink’s vaginal moisture drops are designed to provide moisture which in return helps to keep the pH in balance.
Decreased Sex Drive can be a symptom of perimenopause. Studies show that as women head towards the big change they often feel one of two extremes. Some feel sexually liberated now that they are no longer able to get pregnant, while others may become self-consciousness and feel undesirable. The sudden hormone changes can often lead to feelings of depression and anxiety as well. For women it often takes both physical and mental stimulation. If she is in a depressed state or lacking self-confidence because of menopause it can be difficult for her to become aroused.
Experiencing vaginal dryness and tender breast can also have an impact on sexual desires. The idea of pain and not enjoyment from sex can keep a woman from being turned on and ready to go. Hip Hemp’s intimate massage oils are a great organic solution to vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse. With only a few ingredients these plant-based lubricants are estrogen free and packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Although these products are not designed to increase sex drive, a side effect from feeling more lubricated and not in pain can help bring back the desire to be intimate.
Changes to Skin and Hair are a common side effect heading into menopause. The lack of estrogen will soon cause a loss to fatty tissue and collagen which will make skin drier and thinner and will affect the elasticity and lubrication of the skin near your vagina and urinary tract. Hair can become brittle and may even start to fall out. During this time skin may be more prone to developing wrinkles as well as acne blemishes and eczema flare-ups.
Hip Hemp’s In The Pink intimate massage oils are great to be used from head to toe and as a lubricant. Hemp Seed Oil is used as the base or the carrying oil of these massage oils. This anti-inflammatory, detoxifying oil and analgesic properties closely match skins lipids. Hemp Seed Oil is packed full of Omega 3 and Linoleic Acids which has been proven to help with skin elasticity. The essential oils that are added to the base oil offers their own benefits of moisturizing and calming along with many other satisfying results.
Hip Hemp’s line of In The Pink products are all estrogen free, organic, and free of soy, nuts, dairy, fillers, gluten, chemicals or GMO’s. It is always important to speak with your doctor about any questions or concerns related to your health. It is also a good idea to keep track of your symptoms you may experience when you start the journey of menopause and make sure to communicate those with doctor as well. There are options available to help feel comfortable and confident during this journey of life.