Symptoms of Menopause

Menopause can cause many changes in the body from hot flashes and night sweats to sleep disturbances, mood disorders, weight gain and vaginal changes.

Vaginal Changes

  • Vaginal changes occur due to the decrease of estrogen in the body. This can lead to irritation, burning, itching, vaginal discharge, dryness, painful intercourse and bleeding after intercourse. This can also lead to a decreased quality of life, sexual dysfunction and even relationship problems.
  • Unfortunately unlike hot flashes, vaginal changes will not get better but rather progress.
  • The good news is there are treatment options to help with these vaginal changes. They include water-based lubricants, over-the-counter moisturizers, natural oils such as olive and coconut oil, local estrogen therapy and other medications prescribed by a health care provider.

Weight Changes

  • The average weight gain during menopause is five pounds. This is most likely due to aging and lifestyle changes. Menopausal women are more likely to have osteoarthritis and poor sleep quality.
  • Treatment for weight changes during menopause include decreasing calories by 400 – 600 per day, regular physical activity, decreasing fat intake, and increasing fruits and vegetables. Adequate protein intake is also important including about 14 grams per meal. Remember that the loss and maintenance of 10 percent of body weight can improve health status.

Hot Flashes

  • Hot flashes are common and are highest in the two years after menopause. Most women experience hot flashes for less than seven years. The frequency, duration and intensity all vary. Hot flashes can be bothersome, interfere with daily activities, impair quality of life and interrupt sleep.

Keep Cool with Hot Flashes

  • Avoid warm rooms, hot drinks, hot foods, caffeine, stress and cigarette smoking. Make sure to wear light, breathable fabrics, and use cooling products such as sprays and gels. Reducing stress is important. Exercise, meditation, yoga and acupuncture are all good ways to reduce stress. Paced respiration may be helpful with the use of slow, deep abdominal breathing. Also remember to stay cool while sleeping.

More Information

To learn more about UH Women’s Health Institute, or to speak to a navigator, please call 440-720-3262.

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