Menopause is a stage that every woman has to go through; it is when her ovaries lose the ability to produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as her menstrual cycle stops. It is a part of aging and marks the end of a woman’s reproduction. This condition usually occurs when women are in between their late 40’s to early 50’s. It can also cause several sleep problems.
When the ovaries lose the ability to produce enough amounts of estrogen and progesterone, this loss can give rise to various symptoms, such as sweating and hot flashes. Around 75%- 85% of menopausal women experience hot flashes, which can last for five years.
Hot flashes and sweating can lead to sleeping problems, such as insomnia. As per the research, nearly 61% of women with menopause have sleep issues. Further, these sleeping problems can lead to other problems, including daytime drowsiness.
Insomnia is a disorder that prevents you from getting enough sleep, which generally means that you have a difficulty in falling asleep.
Signs & symptoms of Insomnia
People with insomnia may have these signs:
- Take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
- Get less than six hours of sleep on three or more nights in a week
- Doesn’t feel refreshed after sleeping
- Wake up too early
- Feel tired throughout the day
- Worry about sleeping for a longer period
Over time, the lack of sleep can lead to other health issues.
- You may feel anxious
- Hard to focus or pay attention
- Experience more accidents and errors
- Difficulty in remembering things
- Frequent headaches
- Stomach upset
Treatment & management
Symptoms related to menopause, including hot flashes and insomnia can be cured with traditional treatment, Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT has estrogen which is given as a pill, vaginal cream, or patch, sometimes combined with progesterone. However, studies have shown that prolonged use of estrogen-progesterone combination therapy gives rise to different health problems like breast cancer, blood clots, heart disease, and stroke.
According to the latest recommendation for use of HRT for severe menopause symptoms is to use the lowest dose for the shortest period of time.
If your symptoms are not severe you can take low doses medication, including low doses of paroxetine, fluoxetine, venlafaxine, and other SSRI’s. other drugs such as the anti-seizure drug gabapentin and blood pressure medication clonidine may also be effective against these symptoms.