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Extreme Symptoms of Menopause

written by: Victoria Trix • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 10/1/2010

Every woman goes through menopause but what happens when more severe symptoms set in? Here we will review the symptoms, side effects and treatments.

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    Although there is no medical evidence of ‘extreme menopause’, symptoms of the most extreme cases of menopause can feel overwhelming to the women who experience it. Menopause is considered the time when a female has her last menstrual cycle. The cycle will gradually change prior to menopause, and this is called perimenopause. Menopausal symptoms can be felt for years prior to and after menopause, and there are treatments available for even the most extreme symptoms.

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    Symptoms of Extreme Menopause

    Aches in joints, changes in desire for sex, PMS-like symptoms and extreme sweating are common symptoms. Also urinating more frequently and headaches as well as hot flashes and mood changes are seen early. Night sweats and trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness and problems with memory are all signs before, during and after menopause. These are common, but every woman is different and not all women will experience all or any of the symptoms. 1 out of every 10 women will have very few or any of these symptoms, while 1 out of 10 will have serious symptoms that affect daily activity.

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    Dealing with Symptoms

    Night sweats and hot flashes are the most commonly reported disturbances of menopause that women experience and find troublesome. Relieving these symptoms can be done with a little effort, including regular exercise. Taking a cold shower during a hot flash or right before bed will help to decrease their effects. Keeping stress at a tolerable level will help as well, considering that stress triggers emotions that release hormones. Since menopause is directly related to hormones, this will help greatly diminish some symptoms. Wearing cotton clothing and removing layers will help relieve some hot flashes, and prescriptions like HRT or hormone replacement therapy is available from a physician.

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    Hormone Therapy

    The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation states that HRT was called into question when some researchers said they would no longer promote the WHI or Women’s Health Initiative. This was a randomized placebo-controlled study that was supposed to measure the pros and cons of HRT. It was stopped because the risks outweighed all benefits that HRT offered. Dr. Marlan Schwartz says that there are many FDA-approved options for symptoms including HRT. It is shown to relieve moderate to severe symptoms, by replacing the estrogen the body no longer makes with a synthetic version of estrogen.

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    Side Effects Treatments

    Many side effects are associated with HRT that cause some women to rethink the therapy. Hair growth in areas that hair normally did not grow prior to treatment is the number one complaint. Thicker hair growth and breast tenderness have been seen, as well as muscle cramps have also been found with HRT. Estrogen is the chemical in a female’s body that is responsible for the sexual drive and female characteristics of the body. When estrogen is no longer made in the same amounts, the body begins to change. Some changes are noticeable such as hair loss and loss of elasticity in skin. Others are not as noticeable, such as slight forgetfulness.

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    Dealing with Extreme Menopause

    Many women take menopause in stride, simply dealing with the symptoms until they are no longer experienced. The average time frame from perimenopause through menopause is 5 years. During this time, many women take over the counter medications that help to deal strictly with night sweats or hot flashes. These medications are normally herbal remedies that promise to help replace the chemicals in the body that are responsible for these feelings. Unfortunately, estrogen is the only thing missing from the body and the only chemical that actually needs replacing. Over the counter medications can be used for some symptoms such as headaches and cramps, but no medication will completely rid a female of the symptoms of menopause.

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