How Do I Know if I’m Starting Menopause?
Every person who is born with ovaries will at some point in their life inevitably go through menopause, this usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. Not all of these people have symptoms however most (80%) do with 25% experiencing severe symptoms which adversely affect them in their day-to-day life.
This makes it extremely important that we can properly identify menopause and perimenopause so that they can be properly treated and so that those who need it can get the help that they need. People should not just be expected to deal with genuinely debilitating symptoms that cause them so many problems both physically and mentally.
So many different changes happen to your body during perimenopause and menopause that cause these symptoms. You will have lower oestrogen and testosterone levels and these hormones have receptors all over your body in every cell. This means that this change in hormone levels could affect any and all parts of the body. The lower levels of hormones are what cause your periods to stop.
Some people experience perimenopause first which means around menopause. Perimenopause is when you begin to experience menopausal symptoms before your periods have fuly stopped. Menopause is defined as being 12 months after periods have stopped.
What are the signs of menopause and perimenopause?
Ther aree many different symptoms you could end up facing through your experience with menopause and perimenopause. All people will have an individual experience with their menopause symptoms and nobody goes through it in the exact same way.
Where some people get a lot of seere symptoms others face none at all. Unfortuhatley, it is not possiblke to know where on this spectrum you will land until you are already gpig through perimenopause or menopause.
Perimenopause and menopause can affect your physical and mental health.
Examples of mental health symptoms could look like the following:
- Memory problems or problems concentrating (brain fog).
- Mood changes such as anxiety, low mood, mood swings or low self-esteem.
Of course, along with these are the physical symptoms, you may experience the following:
- Inability to sleep properly - this can be caused by night sweats and can result in irritability and exhaustion in the daytime.
- Lower sex drive.
- Joint pain and muscles aching.
- Hot flushes - sudden changes of feeling hot and cold usually on your chest, neck and face which can result in dizziness.
- Headaches that are worse than what you usually experience, even migraines.
- Vaginal dryness, itching, pain or even just discomfort during sex.
- Palpitations - where your heart suddenly feels like it's beating harder and becomes more noticeable.
- Reoccurring UTIs (urinary tract infections).
The symptoms of menopause can last for months and unfortunatkey sometimes years. They can change and develop over this period of time and where some may get worse othrs may get more bearable. If you get help and advice early enough you may be able to stop soem of these symptoms from either becoming too severe to handle or unmanagable in daily life.
So, how do you know if you are staring menopause?
The best way to test for menopause once you have begun to experience symptoms is to test for the level of FSH in your system. This stands for follicle-stimulating hormone. This is an indicator of whether or not you are going through menopause.
An FSH test can be conducted using a blood sample or a urine sample. If you choose to go to see a medical professional they are more likely to take blood than a urine test. At-home tests however use a urine sample to test for the levels of FSH.
This test should ideally be carried out on day 3 of your menstrual cycle with the first day being the day your period begins. It has been said though that it is possible to do on days 2 and 4 instead but that day 3 is the perfect time.
This applies mostly to those who are booking in with a doctor and may be unable to get the exact day they need. With an at-home test, it is much easier to make sure that you take the test at the right time.
At-home tests usually use medical laboratory management software.
The best test for menopause is the test that suits you. If you feel that you would prefer to see a doctor that will work best for you but if you’re looking for an easy way to test for yourself, at-home test kits are amazing.
Lifestyle changes to help menopause and perimenopause
Sometimes lifestyle changes can do a great job of easing some of your symptoms ajd although they are not the solution for every person they are most certainly worth giving a go.
Some of the tiops below will not only hopefully help yo improve some of your symptoms, but will also help ypu to propely look after yourself, keep healthy and have you feeloing well in yourself too.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Eat calcium-rich foods like yoghurt which will help to keep your bones healthy.
- Rest, try and keep a regular sleep schedule, you will feel much more settled.
- Regularly exercise. Walking, dancing and running are all great options to keep you moving.
- Discuss what you are experiencing with others going through the same thing, an empathetic ear can really make a difference to your mental health.
- Do relaxing activities like yoga or meditation.
- Make sure you talk it through with a doctor if you are considering taking any medicines or herbal supplements just to double-check.
You should not:
- Over exceed the recommended limit of alcohol.
Neither smoking nor drinking too much are good for us at any time ut when your body is going through any kind of change it can make our lives much more difficult than they need to be. Both of these things can be triggers for symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.
Throughout perimenopause and menopause, it is really common to have bouts of low mood, anxiety and mood swings. There are a few things that you can do to try and ease this. They include:
- Getting plenty of rest.
- Doing relaxing activities.
- Regularly exercising.
- CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy - CBT is a type of talking therapy that is able to help people with anxiety, low mood and even issues with sleeping.
Night sweats and hot flushes
Hot flushes and night sweats can feel like a nightmare. They can catch you out and keep you from getting all of the rest you need.
There are a couple of tips that could help with this such as:
- Using a fan.
- Having a cold drink.
- Wearing lighter than usual clothing.
- Keeping your stress levels at a minimum.
- Regularly exercising (it really is important).
- Make sure your bedroom is cool at night if you can.
- Do your utmost to lose weight if you are overweight.
- Do your best to stay away from potential triggers like caffeine, hot drinks, smoking, spicy foods and alcohol.
- CBT can actually also help to manage hot flushes.
Hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy or HRT can be an amazing option for some people. For the 80% that experience symptoms and the 25% that experience severe symptoms it can be life chnaging and make the entire process so much easier to cope with.
Like any treatment though there are, of course, some risks and some benefits..
- Within just a few months symptoms such as vaginal dryness and mood changes can improve and night sweats and hot flushes are often reported to have improved in just a few weeks.
- It can help lessen the impact of most symptoms of menopause and perimenopause giving you relief.
- It can even reduce the risk of any health issues related to hormones like heart disease and osteoporosis.
The risks of HRT are honestly pretty much outweighed by the benefits and could be unique to you. This is one of the reasons that it is essential to speak to a nurse or doctor to help you make your decision.
Official Rapid Tests
The Menopause Test is a rapid self-test for detecting follicle-stimulating hormone in urine identifying the onset of menopause in women.
If the test indicates the onset of menopause, you may wish to see a doctor to do further tests to confirm the result. A doctor or pharmacist can also help with treatment for your symptoms.
This Instant Menopause Test was created by Official Rapid Tests, started by a team of expert medical professionals, and they now have over 11,000 5-star reviews online. For more information or to ask a question about the instant menopause test, visit the frequently asked questions page.