5 Reasons To Track Menopause Symptoms
Technology has advanced to the point where we can track our menstrual cycles and fertility with the push of a button and know when to expect either menstruation or ovulation. This same technology benefits us as we go through the menopausal transition. You don't have to deal with shifting moods and fluctuating levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone in the dark. Instead, you can better manage your health by tracking symptoms of menopause.
Tracking your menopausal symptoms isn’t just a way to remind yourself of how many hot flashes, migraines, weight gain, or night sweats you experienced in a week. It’s a way for you to stay on top of your health and have the confidence to know what to expect from your menopausal transition. Keeping on top of women's health has many benefits, and can have a ripple effect on menopausal women's lives. Here are some of those benefits.
1. Tracking Helps Identify Your Symptom Patterns
Believe it or not, women do experience patterns in their symptoms of menopause, to a degree. Some women notice that they only experience hot flashes at night, and not during the day. Some women experience irritability closer to the start of their menstrual cycle and some women experience irritability toward the end of their menstrual cycle. Being able to identify symptom patterns can help menopausal women better understand what to expect, when to expect it, and what you can do to alleviate everything from vaginal dryness to migraines.
Finding symptom patterns may also help you identify possible triggers. Take hot flashes as an example. Let’s say you experience hot flashes most often in the mornings. You notice that after breakfast you start to feel a bit warm, and perhaps an hour or so later your first hot flash starts. If you drank coffee with breakfast, you’ve found a hot flash trigger! Coffee is a notorious hot flash trigger because of its caffeine content. Caffeine causes your blood vessels to become narrow, which restricts blood flow and increases blood pressure. These can raise your body temperature and cause your hypothalamus to start a hot flash.
Multiple symptoms can have the same triggers, so if you find yourself experiencing multiple symptoms at once, this could be an indication that you have a symptom trigger and help you identify it.
2. Tracking Helps You and Your Doctor
Keeping track of your symptoms doesn’t just help you, it also helps your doctor. Your clinician needs to know what kinds of menopausal symptoms you’re experiencing and how often you experience them. This way, they can work with you to create a treatment plan, even hormone therapy, that is best suited for you. Tracking your symptoms can help your doctor better understand your specific menopausal journey, as well as help you identify any abnormalities or other potential health concerns and medical conditions. Your doctor may pick up on irregularities that you weren't even looking for.
Let’s use the example of indigestion paired with heartburn. If a woman experiences both of these things often, especially after eating, she can track them and show her clinician. While both can be mild symptoms of menopause, more severe symptoms could be a sign of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which is a digestive disorder that requires specific treatment. Tracking these symptoms could help achieve an accurate diagnosis and help you address them faster.
3. Tracking Helps Pinpoint New Symptoms
Menopausal symptoms do not always present themselves immediately. In fact, many menopausal women will develop new menopausal symptoms over the course of their hormone shifts. Some symptoms develop gradually, others seem to appear out of nowhere. Being able to pinpoint when new physical symptoms arise during daily life can help better monitor women's health. It can help to determine if new treatments are needed, where you can make lifestyle changes, and help determine if you are experiencing physical symptoms of other medical conditions.
Not only can you track the arrival of new symptoms, but you can also identify when existing symptoms become more intense. As you progress through the stages of menopause, you may notice that certain symptoms, like cramps, night sweats, or mood swings, become more intense or more frequent. You might experience only mild hot flashes in perimenopause, but intense hot flashes in menopause. Similarly, you may find that you experience more frequent mood swings in perimenopause but fewer mood swings in menopause. Postmenopausal women may not experience mood changes at all.
Being able to detect and track physical symptoms during your menopausal transition can help you better structure your lifestyle changes and help you maintain your own care.
4. Tracking Symptoms Helps You Plan Your Next Moves
Keeping track of your menopausal symptoms, like mood changes or heart palpitations, can also help you better identify when you can expect to move onto the next stage. Perimenopausal women may notice the development of new symptoms of perimenopause or a decrease of previous physical symptoms, and tracking is the best way to help you identify the window of time in which you’ll enter menopause. Tracking can help you understand where you’ll need to adjust your daily activities to better cope with your symptoms. It will also help prepare you for the new hormonal changes your body will undergo as your ovaries produce less estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones.
Take the transition into the postmenopausal phase as an example. As women age further into their later years after menopause, there is an increased risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose their density and become more porous, this makes them brittle and more likely to fracture. Many women of postmenopausal ages suffer from osteoporosis, and while many women try to supplement this bone density loss with medications and calcium supplements, the earlier you take preventative measures, the better your bone health will be.
Tracking your physical symptoms can help you determine when your next stage may be and help you better prepare for the new medical conditions that will come with it.
5. Tracking Keeps You On Top of Routines
It can be hard to maintain a healthy routine for many consecutive months, especially when trying to address all your health concerns. Tracking your menopausal symptoms can help you stay on top of your routines. If your hot flashes are more intense on the days when you have that second cup of coffee, then you know to cut down on the caffeine. If you have worse insomnia and fatigue on the days when your workdays are the longest, then you should implement ways to relax and destress after work, like meditation and regular physical activity. If you suddenly experience dry eyes more frequently you may find you need to order some eye drops and start using them regularly.
Being vigilant about your health concerns starts with understanding what you can do to influence and improve them. Tracking your menopausal symptoms can help you avoid symptom triggers, stay on top of medication use, and help you determine what new lifestyle changes you have to make as you progress through the different stages of menopause.
Use a Menopause Health Tracker
When it comes to your menopausal health, use every resource that you can. Tools, information, and truth will give you the best chance to maintain your menopausal health and live well. Tracking your menopausal symptoms is a good start, and can lead to other tools and strategies that will help you throughout the menopausal transition. Be proactive and start tracking your menopausal symptoms today with the MenoLife symptom tracker! Download the app and you’ll be on your way to healthier living!