The earliest symptoms of menopause can begin to manifest anywhere between 40 and 60 years of age (yes, that late too). You will probably only become aware that you are menopausal or get checked for menopause when the symptoms get severe and obvious. However, menopause is a process, a transition that your body undergoes for many, many years, long before you or your doctor can actually confirm it. Most women though have an intuition about their bodes. Even if their doctors say no, women know when their bodies are undergoing a change. Many women suspect they are menopausal long before the symptoms hit with full force.
It can be a bit of a shock to realize that you might be menopausal, especially if you feel that you are just not old enough to be going through ‘the change’. But relax. Just because you are starting to see signs of menopause does not mean that you are fully menopausal yet. It may still be a few years before the symptoms get obvious enough to confirm even the first stage of menopause. Meanwhile, look at your symptoms of the earliest stages of menopause as an opportunity to prepare for the actual thing. Let’s take a look at some of the most common signs that you just may be in the earliest stages of menopause.
Earliest Signs of Menopause
The symptoms of menopause in its earliest stages may be attributed to factors other than menopause such as stress and illness. This is because most of the earliest indications of menopause are rather generic. But if you experience the symptoms below, either just one of them often enough to be of notice or several of them in combination, and if you have a gut feeling that it has something to do with menopause, then you probably are in the very earliest stages of menopause which modern medicine and technology cannot diagnose.
Although very subtle, you will notice that there is something a little different about your menstrual cycle. Not enough of a difference to be a matter of concern, definitely not enough to even bring it up with your doctor, but curious none the less. There may be a change in your individual menstrual pattern. Perhaps you have a three day cycle and it jumps to four every once in awhile. Or maybe you are used to a long cycle and it gets cut down by a day or two. There might be an ever so slight change in your flow – getting slightly lighter or slightly heavier than usual. If you have irregular periods as a matter of course though, it is unlikely that you will notice these changes of the earliest stages of menopause.
Anger, anxiety, depression and irritability are common signs of the earliest stages of menopause. You may also feel detached or indifferent sometimes, uncaring of what is going on in your life or at work. Perhaps you will feel very unsatisfied with your life and experience restlessness. Your emotional state can start to affect your work, your daily routine, and your close relationships. This symptom of the earliest stages of menopause could cause a lot of damage in your life if left unchecked. So if you know that your mood swings are not just a part of regular PMS or if you see the negative impact it is starting to have on your life, go see your doctor.
One of the signs of the earliest stages of menopause is insomnia. But we do tend to sleep less as we get older anyway so perhaps your sleepless nights are not caused by hormone fluctuations. Insomnia can zap you of energy, reduce your productivity, and increase stress. So if this is something of a regular ordeal for you, see your doctor for help.
You may not remember that you are experiencing this symptom. Forgetfulness is a common yet oft-overlooked sign of the earliest stages of menopause. It may be something small like forgetting what you went into the other room for, or it may be something important like forgetting to pick up your kids from soccer practice even though you have been doing it several times a week for many months. While this is not a very serious symptom of menopause, it can result in minor irritations and problems with your personal life. Add this symptom to your mood swings and sleepless nights and you are a time-bomb just waiting to explode.
These will feel like little flutters in your chest. Your heart will suddenly beat more rapidly and sound loud enough to pound in your head. The heart palpitations will occur even if you are not doing anything strenuous. You may not experience them very often, but if you have never had one before then you will sit up and take notice. It is always best to not ignore this symptom though. Yes, heart palpitations may just be a sign of the earliest stages of menopause or maybe a panic attack if you are prone to it, but it can also be an indication of something more serious like heart disease. And since menopause actually puts you at higher risk for heart disease, it would be wise to get this symptom checked out as soon as possible.
Estrogen is crucial to hydrating your skin cells. So when the levels of this hormone begin to fluctuate in the earliest stages of menopause, your skin, hair, and yes, even your vagina will feel a little dry. Your hair may start to thin out a little and your skin may need some powerful moisturizer to prevent flakiness and itchiness. Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort during sex. It can also put you at some risk for vaginal infections since the good bacteria that protect your vagina from germs and infections need a moist environment to survive. Another result of vaginal dryness is incontinence of the bladder.
Hello, Hot Flashes
You will probably make your acquaintance with hot flashes in the earliest stages of menopause. Of course, they will not be intense and you may not even recognize them as hot flashes, just a surge of warmth that goes away. But you will notice that these tepid versions of the actual hot flashes occur from time to time, perhaps once every few weeks or months.
- Water retention and bloating are also common in the earliest stages of menopause. But these can be attributed to your diet, PMS, and the existence of other health problems so it may not always be a sign of menopause.
- Some women will start to experience headaches in the earliest stages of menopause.
- The earliest stages of menopause may also be defined by a slight loss in libido, and not just because of the vaginal dryness.
- Aches and pains in the joints are also signs of the earliest stages of menopause.
Do menopause symptoms so early on need to be treated? Well, that will depend on you. This early on, the symptoms of menopause are hardly severe enough to justify medication. But you can indeed make some lifestyle changes that will ease your symptoms. Making lifestyle changes in the earliest stages of menopause is an excellent idea since it will help you combat the more sever symptoms that you are bound to encounter when you are smack in the middle of menopause.