Menopause: Body changes to expect

Understanding changes that happen during menopause makes it easy to cope with symptoms.

Understanding changes that happen during menopause makes it easy to cope with symptoms.

Photo credit: fotosearch

What you need to know:

  • The body changes that occur during menopause are due to the changes in hormone levels.
  • Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and get regular check-ups to prevent or manage these changes.

If you are in your 40s or 50s, you may be experiencing menopause. This time in a woman's life is marked by changes in the body, including fluctuations in hormones and hot flashes. While some women sail through menopause with hardly any symptoms, others find it challenging.

This article will discuss the body changes that occur during menopause and what you can do to manage them.

Emotional changes during menopause

Few women sail through menopause without experiencing any emotional changes. For some, menopause brings feelings of sadness and loneliness. Others may feel angry and irritable.

These emotional changes can be attributed to hormonal fluctuations during menopause. Some women may also find it challenging to cope with the physical changes that menopause brings such as hot flashes and weight gain.

Night sweats can also cause sleep deprivation, further contributing to emotional instability.

Counselling and support groups can provide a forum for sharing experiences and coping strategies.

Exercise and relaxation techniques can also help to alleviate stress and improve mood.


Many women find that they have difficulty sleeping during menopause. This can be due to hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, and stress.

If you are having trouble sleeping, there are some things you can do to improve the situation.

First, establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed and create a relaxing bedtime routine.

If hot flashes keep you up at night, try taking a cool shower before bed or sleeping with a fan in your room.

Some medications such as melatonin supplements or prescription sleep aids can help with insomnia. Consult the doctor for such prescriptions.

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, affecting a huge percentage of women.

A hot flash is a sudden feeling of warmth, often accompanied by a red, flushed face and sweating.

Hot flashes are experienced mostly at night but can also occur during the day.

They can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Some women experience them multiple times a day.

There are several things you can do to manage hot flashes.

  • Avoid triggers such as spicy food, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing when a hot flash strikes.
  • Keep a fan handy to cool you down quickly.
  • Lose weight and limit smoking, as both can contribute to hot flashes.

Weight gain

Weight gain is a common symptom of menopause, and it can be attributed to a number of factors.

Hormonal changes during menopause can lead to an increase in body fat.

In addition, many women find that their metabolism slows down as they age, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight.

Some experience accumulation of fat around the abdomen, while others may see a general increase in overall body size.

You can do a few things to combat weight gain during menopause.

  • First, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
  • Cut down on calories by eating smaller meals more often throughout the day.
  • Avoid sugary snacks and drinks and limit your saturated and unhealthy fats intake.

Low libido

Many women experience a decrease in libido during menopause. This can be due to the hormonal changes that occur during this time and the physical changes (such as weight gain and vaginal dryness) and emotional changes (such as stress and anxiety).

There are a few things you can do to increase your libido.

  • First, talk to your doctor to see if there is a medical reason for your low libido.
  • Second, try to reduce stress in your life and find ways to relax.
  • Third, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
  • Lastly, use lubrication during sex to combat vaginal dryness.

Irregular monthly periods

As hormone levels fluctuate, many women experience longer or shorter cycle lengths, lighter or heavier bleeding, or skipped periods altogether. This is one of the first signs of menopause.

In addition, fertility decreases due to the lower number of eggs being produced.

If you are trying to conceive, it is important to talk to your doctor about your options.


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