Menopause: The ‘intense’ sign which can ‘persist for more than seven years’

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The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older. Though it is a natural part of growing older, that usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age, some signs can be troublesome. Most women will experience menopausal symptoms, and the NHS says some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.

The Mayo Clinic explains that a hot flash is the sudden feeling of warmth in the upper body, “which is usually most intense over the face, neck and chest”.

It adds: “Your skin might redden, as if you’re blushing. A hot flash can also cause sweating. If you lose too much body heat, you might feel chilled afterward. Night sweats are hot flashes that happen at night, and they may disrupt your sleep.”

It says that during a hot flash, you might have a rapid heartbeat as well as feelings of anxiety.

“The frequency and intensity of hot flashes vary among women. A single episode may last a minute or two — or as long as 5 minutes,” the organisation says.

Indeed: “Hot flashes may be mild or so intense that they disrupt daily activities. They can happen at any time of day or night.”

The Mayo Clinic says that on average, hot flash symptoms persist for more than seven years and “some women have them for more than 10 years”.

Alongside hot flushes, other symptoms include night sweats, vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex, difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety and loss of libido.

There are also some less common symptoms that some women experience, including hair loss or brittle nails.

A study published in the National Library of Health looked at the best types of food for menopausal woman.

The study noted that epidemiological studies suggest that Asian women experience hot flashes less frequently than the Western women.

“Diet has been included among the different reasons proposed to explain such proven differences.

“Indeed, Asian diet is known to be rich in phytoestrogens and even though only few clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the role of these bioactive substances in regulating the menopause symptoms, most data from randomised studies indicate a significant drop in the severity and frequency of menopausal symptoms.”

The NHS explains that about eight in every 10 women will have additional symptoms, alongside period changes, for some time before and after their periods stop.

It notes: “On average, most symptoms last around four years from your last period. However, around one in every 10 women experience them for up to 12 years.”

A GP can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.

Women can start perimenopause at various ages, with most women beginning to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-40s.

The National Institute on Ageing says: “Deciding whether and how to treat the symptoms of menopausal transition can be complicated and personal.”

It advises that you discuss your symptoms, family and medical history, and preferences with your doctor.

For those who are finding it difficult to cope with menopause symptoms, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is by far the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms.

Used in a variety of forms it works by “topping up” oestrogen levels that have declined and in turn reduces the effect of symptoms.

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