4 Reasons Why Your Menopause Symptoms May Return
Even if we take steps to try to lower our menopausal symptoms, sometimes they can resurface, and that’s not unusual or abnormal. There are so many things that can influence our menopausal symptoms, and our bodies undergo so many different changes that it can become difficult for them to maintain themselves effectively.
Even if you’re under a certain menopausal treatment plan, that doesn’t change the fact that your hormones still fluctuate during the menopausal transition. Your natural hormones will continue to rise and drop, perhaps at somewhat steadier levels, but nonetheless, they will still experience shifts.
The endocrine system is responsible for signaling the body when to perform certain functions based on information sent from hormones and other naturally-occurring chemicals. The endocrine system is responsible for sending signals from sex hormones (i.e. estrogen and progesterone) to other areas of the body, that help facilitate certain responses. When sex hormone levels fluctuate, the endocrine system takes this information and directs it toward other areas of the body that then generate a response in the form of a menopausal symptom, like hot flashes.
Now, while these hormone levels can fluctuate naturally during menstruation, there are other things that can cause menopausal symptoms to reoccur.
Menopausal Symptom Triggers
It’s important to identify and avoid menopausal symptom triggers. There are many things that can trigger menopausal symptoms, or contribute to the return of menopausal symptoms when combined with naturally occurring hormonal fluctuations. Cutting out certain triggers and then returning to them, later on, can also cause certain menopausal symptoms to resurface.
Take coffee as an example. Coffee possesses caffeine, which is a trigger for hot flashes. Let’s say you cut out coffee completely for a period of a month and switch to a different morning beverage option. Then after that month, one day you’re running late to an appointment and instead of grabbing orange juice or milk, you grab a cup of coffee. Your body has adjusted to not having caffeine in the morning, and therefore, you have not had a hot flash triggered as a result during that entire month. However, you notice that after that cup of coffee that morning you start to feel immediately warm and your heart rate escalates. Your body has responded to the coffee by triggering a hot flash because it naturally raised your heart rate whereas previously, your heart rate has been fairly steady at that time of day without coffee.
Your body has to get used to a new routine once you cut out menopausal symptom triggers. Avoiding those symptom triggers is your best bet to lowering your chances of experiencing the return of certain menopausal symptoms in the future.
Dehydration and Stress
While these two don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, they are the most commonly reported problems among women going through menopause. Stress and dehydration, though simple and obvious causes, can sometimes be more difficult to recognize and fix.
As women go through the menopausal transition, the increase in hot flashes, night sweats, and even increases in daily exercise can cause the body to become easily dehydrated. This can feed into the frequent return of certain menopausal symptoms, specifically hot flashes. The body needs to maintain a steady core body temperature, and staying hydrated helps the body do that. It keeps heart rate steady and helps blood circulate through the body more effectively, keeping the risk of high blood pressure low. However, when you’re dehydrated, your heart rate increases, raising your core body temperature and sending signals to your brain to trigger a hot flash.
Stress too can be a significant factor in the return of menopausal symptoms. Chronic stress can cause stress hormones to act as toxins in the body. High-stress levels can impact almost every system in the body. Most importantly, stress harms the immune system. Stress hormones lower your immune system’s ability to produce and release immune cells that help fight off illnesses from bacteria and viruses. Stress can also impact your body’s ability to regulate body temperature, mood swings, concentration, and sleep cycles. Finding ways to manage and lower stress is paramount to helping lower your menopausal symptoms and preventing them from resurfacing frequently.
In certain cases, infections can cause some menopausal symptoms to either reappear or become worse. The most prevalent example of this is a yeast infection. Yeast infections are fungal infections, in which an overgrowth of certain bacteria causes the vagina and vulva to become inflamed and itchy. Yeast infections can cause the vaginal lining to become inflamed, irritated, and dry, which results in vaginal dryness.
Now, vaginal dryness also occurs naturally during the menopausal transition due to the depletion of estrogen. Women in menopause are also more likely to experience yeast infections due to the drying of the vaginal lining. So yeast infections, in and of themselves, can both be a result of menopause and impact other menopausal symptoms.
If you experience yeast infections often you should speak to your doctor about treatment and preventative methods that may help lower your risk of developing more in the future. Avoid foods with refined sugars to help lower your chances of developing a yeast infection, and drink plenty of water.
Staying Proactive Is Key
Being proactive about your menopausal health is the key to managing your symptoms. Stick to routines and feed your body what it needs, both from food sources and from exercise and other important habits. Consistency is key to helping your hormonal fluctuations smooth out and staying on track with your menopausal health.