When a woman enters her 40s, she knows that menopause is just around the corner. Although actual menopause occurs in the early 50s for most, the age can vary from the early 40s to mid to late 50s. Before menopause actually happens, most women experience perimenopause, which is the name for the body changes experienced before full menopause occurs. Knowing these body signs can help a woman know when menopause begins and ends.
Start keeping track of your monthly period in a monthly calendar. One of the first signs of menopause is menstrual irregularity. If the time between your periods is longer or shorter than usual, that can indicate the beginning of menopause. It can also indicate other problems, so be sure and see your doctor and discuss the change with him.
Watch your moods, as mood swings are often a sure sign that the menopause process has begun as your body begins to have hormonal fluctuations. If you have normally had PMS in the past, ask friends and loved ones if your mood swings have worsened in recent months.
Notice any vaginal dryness. As your hormone levels change, vaginal dryness is a sign for some women. Even if you are sexually excited, dryness may occur.
Pay attention to sleeplessness. Insomnia or frequent waking at night is another sign of perimenopause.
Turn on a fan. Hot flashes and night sweats are a definite symptom that menopause has begun.
Visit your doctor. He or she can take a blood sample and determine for sure if the menopause process has begun. He can also recommend various therapies to relieve the symptoms.
Wait a year. Most doctors agree that when you have not had a menstrual cycle for a period of one year that you have reached the final stage of menopause.