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What are the signs of menopause?

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Quick Answer

Signs and symptoms of approaching menopause include hot flashes, irregular periods, vaginal dryness, night sweats and mood changes, according to Mayo Clinic. Other signs are hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, loss of breast fullness and sleep problems. Some women experience anxiety and feelings of sadness and loss.

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What are the signs of menopause?
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Full Answer

Menopause occurs 12 months after a woman's final menstrual cycle, states Mayo Clinic. It is a natural biologic process and can occur anytime in a woman's 40s or 50s; in the United States, the average age of menopause is 51.

As women begin approaching their late 30s, their ovaries start producing less of the hormones progesterone and estrogen, reducing fertility, explains Mayo Clinic. Women typically begin experiencing irregular menstrual periods in their 40s, with menstrual periods becoming lighter or heavier and appearing more or less frequently. Missing periods is natural during perimenopause, with many women having periods every two to four months. Eventually, women stop having menstrual periods entirely, signalling an end to fertility.

Post-menopausal women suffer increased risks of heart disease and osteoporosis, notes Mayo Clinic. Due to a loss of elasticity in the tissues of the vagina and urethra, many post-menopausal women experience urinary incontinence. In such cases, Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles can help.

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