Physical and Mental Changes of Women during Menopause

Menopause is the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility. When two essential hormones(estrogen and progesterone) needed for a woman's fertility is not produced by the ovaries the periods will be stopped resulting in menopause.

Updated: June 16, 2022

Menopause is the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility. When two essential hormones(estrogen and progesterone) needed for a woman's fertility is not produced by the ovaries the periods will be stopped resulting in menopause.
Menopause happens naturally with age. Usually, a woman will begin to experience menopause symptoms around her mid-40's as her body's reproductive capability comes to the end. At this stage many women experience some physical and emotional symptoms because of hormonal imbalance. Estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle and affects several parts of the body such as reproductive system, urinary tract, heart, blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles and brain.
The physical and mental changes of women during menopause include:

Fatigue:

Fatigue is a persistent feeling of weakness, tiredness, and lowered energy levels. Fatigue in menopause is caused by hormonal changes. Hormones such as estrogen regulate energy use at a cellular level of your body. So when hormone levels drops during menopause, the energy levels also decreases.
Chronic fatigue in menopause can have a high impact on daily life hampering work productivity, and quality of life. To restore energy levels it is essential to treat the underlying hormonal imbalance.

Hair Loss or Thinning:

Hair follicles need estrogen to sustain hair growth. Estrogen deficiency in menopause results in hair loss which is one of the most physically noticeable symptoms.
 Hair loss may be sudden or gradual, or indicate as thinning hair on the head or other parts of the body, including the pubic area. Hair may also become drier and more brittle, and may fall out more while brushing or in the shower. As it is a visible sign of aging,  this symptom is upsetting. To prevent hair loss during menopause, underlying hormonal imbalance should be treated.

Insomnia or Problems Sleeping:

Adults should get seven to eight hours of sleep each night for optimal health.  But during menopause it might be hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. You might wake up earlier than you wish and have trouble going to back to sleep. Women begin to experience restless sleep as many as five to seven years before entering menopause. Try relaxation and breathing techniques with regular exercise to get as much rest as you can.

Difficulty Concentrating:

Women in menopause have trouble remembering things, experience mental blocks, or have difficulty concentrating. Hormonal imbalance, specifically estrogen deficiency is main reason behind these symptoms which can have a big impact on all aspects of daily life.  However, not getting enough sleep or sleep disruptions can also impact memory problems and cause difficulty concentrating.

Weight Gain:

Another sign of changing hormones levels during menopause is weight gain, specifically a thickening around the waist. Lesser circulating estrogen hormones lead the body to retain more fat cells as an alternative source of components of estrogen which actually influence weight gain and redistribution of fat.  Low testosterone levels decreases metabolic rate. Therefore from menopause onward women need fewer calories daily and women who continue to eat as before will gain weight by default.
To increase the metabolic rate and prevent weight gain during menopause, changes in diet and exercise are necessary which will also help treating underlying hormonal imbalance. Water retention is often linked to menopause because water weight and bloating can result from a decrease in progesterone levels. The amount of testosterone hormone increases at the onset of menopause which is responsible for redistributing weight to the midsection instead of to the hips.

Dizziness:

Dizziness is a spinning sensation with a feeling of lightheadedness or unsteadiness. You may not be able to maintain balance upon standing or while walking. It can last for a few seconds, but can leave a woman feeling out of sorts for an extended period of time, or may even lead to falls, which can impact her daily home and work life.
It is caused by fluctuations in hormonal levels such as estrogen or many medical conditions.

Memory Lapses:

Memory loss, memory lapses, and an inability to concentrate are some of the symptoms found in women approaching menopause which are associated with low levels of estrogen and high stress levels.

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