Perimenopause Answers

More Signs & Symptoms of Perimenopause: Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, Insomnia, and Weight Gain

One of the many challenges of this stage of a woman's life is that there are so many signs and symptoms perimenopause. Often, women feel there are more symptoms than they can handle. Here are four more symptoms that often rear their ugly heads:

Hot Flashes/Flushes

One of the most common perimenopausal symptoms, it affects about 60% of women in America alone.

When a woman experiences a hot flash, the face and neck (sometimes, even part of the torso) becomes flushed and red. Sweating usually follows. Since sweat is one of the body’s ways to cool itself down, cold shivers may be felt as the body adjusts to its new temperature.

A lot of things can trigger a flash – caffeine, hot and steaming drinks, drinking alcohol, spicy foods, and even stress can be a contributor. Some of these flashes occur at night, causing you to wake up. It may even be one of the reasons for your insomnia.

Night Sweats

These are often attributed and connected to hot flashes. A woman is sure to experience night sweats as soon as she has one of her hot flashes.

A perimenopausal woman’s body temperature often fluctuates. Since perspiration is our body’s way of cooling us down, this means that your body sweats in an effort to bring its temperature back to normal. Unfortunately, there are times when this is experienced so late at night (or just before dawn) that it’s usually impossible to get back to sleep.

Insomnia

Without warning, a woman wakes up in the middle of the night, only to discover that she is having great difficulty in getting back to sleep.

This is often related to hot flashes and night sweats. Sometimes, insomnia may be caused by stress (due to work issues or major changes in a woman’s environment). At other times, a woman will wake up, her heart is pounding, but without any physical cause for alarm, and it keeps pounding until the anxiety naturally subsides. Either way, she has trouble going back to sleep.

If lucky, she will be asleep after a couple of minutes or hours. If she is not, then she’ll be awake until the morning comes which will irritate her to no end. (Of course, that’s another symptom, and one that’s further down the list.)

Weight Gain

Also called the middle-age spread, weight gain is a usual complaint by women who notice paunchiness on their abdominal areas. There are two possible reasons why you are gaining weight: hormone imbalance and stress.

Estrogen is usually stored in fat. When our body senses a drastic change in the offing, it signals itself to keep and store both estrogen and fat. This means we gain weight and that weight is harder to lose. A stressful environment coupled with an unhealthy diet is also a major contributing factor to weight gain. For a lot of women (and even men), snacking in between meals or when they’re not really hungry is a habit. It’s a habit that indulges our cravings for chocolate, sodium-enriched junk food, cakes and sweets. This gives our body more raw materials to transform and store as fat.

At this point in a woman’s life, it will be harder to lose weight, but quite easy to put it on. The people around her (well-meaning people, I’m sure) usually tell her to accept it, that it’s part of life and aging – a frame of mind which may trigger other symptoms like depression or irritation. If it bothers you, I’d like to let you know that you need not embrace what they say. You should be the one to decide what to do with your body, not them.

Did you know? Some studies now show that the fat found in the lower abdomen and the inner thigh contains adult stem cells. These cells are currently being studied as they are said to be potential treatments for heart failure, breast cancer and spinal cord injuries. This may be relevant or irrelevant to you, but I just wanted to share it, especially since I have a paunch in the areas mentioned.

Next Article: Psychological Signs and Symptoms of Perimenopause

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