Hot flashes affect about 75% of women during natural menopause particularly during the first 3 or 4 postmenopausal years. These sensations of heat and flushing in the upper body sometimes cause sweating, dizziness, palpitations, or headache. Their frequency and intensity will vary. Some women may find them mildly annoying while others find them extremely disruptive to daily life.
Night sweats are hot flashes accompanied by drenching perspiration that occur at night. Night sweats can cause repeated awakening, leaving you feeling tired and irritable the next day. Like hot flashes, night sweats vary in terms of how severely or frequently they affect each woman. For women who experience them, they are also most common during the first 3 to 4 postmenopausal years.
Vaginal dryness occurs because lower levels of the hormone estrogen reduce the blood flow responsible for vaginal lubrication and sexual arousal. That, in turn, makes vaginal tissues less elastic and more easily irritated. Many women experience vaginal dryness, burning, and itching as a result, as well as trouble with sexual intercourse, including pain. But unlike other symptoms, vaginal dryness does not improve over time, and if left untreated, it can worsen.
Sleep disturbances are also common problems that accompany menopause. This disrupted sleep, sometimes related to night sweats, can also leave women feeling tired or irritable the next day.
What Can I Do About Menopausal Symptoms?
You should talk with your doctor or other health care professional about any menopausal symptoms you may be experiencing. He or she is your most reliable source of information. One good way to start the conversation is to complete the Menopause Health Checklist and make an appointment with your doctor to discuss it. Together, you can evaluate your symptoms and discuss choices you can make to help keep you healthy during menopause.