Menopause symptoms are pesky, sneaky, irritating consequences of being a woman. It actually hurts, physically and emotionally, to deal with.
But, if we get ahead of the game, and know what we’re up against before we experience menopause age and symptoms, we may be able to get through it a little smoother than if we didn’t know anything.
What symptoms do we not have to look forward to, though? Which ones will affect us more so than others?
There are 34 main symptoms associated with menopause. We need to know what happens, though, before we hit our menopause age.
For example, when exactly do the hot flashes start? Early on or a few years in? Night sweats are related to hot flashes, so the question here is do night sweats alter sleep? For most women, the answer would be yes.
Then there’s a chance that risky symptoms may pop up, like irregular heartbeats. And, first signs of menopause may worry us, like bloating. Post menopause symptoms may get us anxious, too, like severe depression. The process definitely doesn’t feel normal.
- Hot Flashes
- Night Sweats
- Irregular Periods
- Mood Swings
- Vaginal Dryness
- Decreased Libido
- Breast Soreness
- Burning Mouth
- Joint Pain
- Digestive Problems
- Electric Shocks
- Muscle Tension
- Gum Problems
- Tingling Extremities
- Itchy Skin
- Disrupted Sleep
- Hair Loss
- Memory Lapses
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Weight Gain
- Dizzy Spells
- Stress Incontinence
- Brittle Nails
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Body Odor
- Panic Disorder
- Urinary Tract Infection
Hot flashes typically affect 3 out of 4 women going through menopause; it’s that common. Once that symptom starts, we hope and pray that it will go away as soon as possible.
The most well known menopause symptom often makes our cheeks, neck, and face noticeably red. It can and may spread to other areas of the body, depending on our body type.
The worst part of the situation is when we become overheated and sweaty. It’s impossible to control our internal and external body temperatures when this happens.
Hot flashes that happen at night are called night sweats – we get two different names for the dreaded menopause symptom.
When we experience night sweats, oftentimes, we end up waking up in the middle of the night. That can also trigger irritability from lack of sleep.
Unfortunately, the hormonal imbalance of estrogen and progesterone can go further with night sweats, producing and increasing stress and anxiety throughout the day. Waking up without a full night’s sleep is not fun for us.
The moment that hormone production decreases, our bodies know it’s time to slow down our periods. PMS symptoms may happen without any bleeding during this time.
Irregular periods mean that we may experience an earlier period or a later period than expected.
What’s worse, is that the flow may start to get abnormally heavy or extremely light – there’s no promise on what will happen to each of our bodies. Keep pads and tampons handy!
Instead of affecting 3 out of 4 women like hot flashes do, mood swings are the opposite. Mood swings typically affect 1 out of 4 women – I guess that can be taken as good news.
Mood swings make us more irritable. If we’re irritable during our period, that type of mood will increasingly get worse. It may even result in a personality change after menopause.
What causes this? Hormone levels often affect neurotransmitters in the brain, directly resulting in mood swings of any sort. Feelings of anger, sadness, happiness, and crying are most expected.
During our normal course of life as women, our estrogen levels naturally lubricate our vagina’s. However, when our estrogen levels dwindle and drop during menopause, the walls within our vagina’s get dry.
Pain and discomfort may start to occur once the dryness kicks in, especially during sex.
The best recommendation to take into consideration would be to use over the counter lubricants and moisturizing creams during sex and when necessary. Limits on sex may have to be put into place, unfortunately.
Reduction in sexual appetite is not wanted, but it is very likely to happen while we’re going through menopause due to the common lack of estrogen in the body.
Decreased libido does also contribute to possible painful sex – we don’t want to have sex if we’re dry, and if our libido is not high enough, we’re not very interested.
Some women may start to feel depressed and irritable because of low libido levels, but it is normal.
Talk to your doctor for personal recommendations and proper menopause treatment over the counter if you’re looking to increase your sex life; it may seem embarrassing, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
This specific symptom is more common for us women that already have headaches when our period comes around. Sometimes, menopause can turn normal headaches into unbearable migraines.
The slow production of estrogen may, unfortunately, increase the chance of headache symptoms for said women.
Lack of estrogen may go as far as to develop headache symptoms for women that have never experienced them during their periods – but it’s different for every single one of us.
Breast soreness can generally happen to us when we’re on our period, while we’re pregnant, or during menopause.
Pain and tenderness can occur pretty frequently during menopause, in either one or both of our breasts.
This generally happens when estrogen production comes to a complete stop, at the end of the entire menopause stage of life – but it can happen through the menopause years, too.
The burning mouth isn’t a very common symptom, but it is a symptom associated with menopause that us women should be aware of.
During menopause, saliva production naturally declines in our mouths. Because of this, a burning sensation may start to happen.
Typically, the burning sensation can be defined as a hot sensation affecting the tongue, lips, cheeks, and gums. A metallic taste may accompany the symptom.
Menopause is a common time for us ladies to develop joint and bone pains associated with arthritis and osteoporosis.
You see, menopause maintains bone density throughout life, and lack of that hormone can actually do the opposite – decreasing overall bone mass and density throughout the body.
Though you can’t reverse these effects once they’ve started, you can slow the progression of the painful symptoms and ailments. Try eating a balanced diet and taking the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to lessen the effects.
Whenever our bodies go through a major change, like a reduction in hormones, our digestive system goes crazy and doesn’t know how to perform properly.
In menopausal cases, that means our digestive system starts to give us symptoms of bloat, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and cramps more often than we’d like to experience them.
Abdominal pain and discomfort may pair up with any of the previous listed symptoms to make life even more difficult.
The reason behind this is due to the decline in estrogen levels – when estrogen levels decline, cortisol levels rise, causing these unwanted digestion issues.
Electric shocks may start to happen right before hot flashes occur – that’s the most common time they’ll ‘show face.’
Various parts of the body may experience this, but the extremities is where it will most likely happen.
Before you experience an electric shock, you should know what it feels like – from what I’ve come to understand, it resembles the same feeling that a rubber band would give, snapping on your skin. I, personally, have never experienced one.
Menopause is prone to bringing on stress and anxiety related symptoms, and muscle tension can be brought on by those same exact symptoms.
Usually, muscle tension can be described as tightness or strain in the muscles. Typically it’ll happen in your neck, back, and shoulders.
Additional symptoms are related with muscle tension, such as stiffness, aches, and soreness. These may spread to other areas of the body.
As previously stated, burning mouth can occur while you’re going through menopause. It’s not super common, but I thought it would be best to relay the message just in case you happen to be one of the few that experiences it.
Burning mouth does associate back to gum problems. The unwanted metallic taste does pair with the gum problems symptom, so if you start to taste something of the sort, you’ll know that gum problems may shortly start happening, too.
If you think the situation is becoming a real dental problem, reach out to your dentist to make an appointment and discuss potential solutions.
Tingling sensations can pop up in different areas of the body at different times of the day – it’s not very common, though.
Typically, these sensations will occur in the feet, hands, arms, and legs. It’s similar to that of a burning sensation or insect sting.
This doesn’t really correlate back to the ‘pins and needles’ we’re used to experiencing when not enough blood is going to one area of the body.
Low estrogen levels during menopause trigger low collagen levels. Unfortunately, collagen is the main structural protein roaming the body that keeps skin firm and healthy.
Without collagen, the skin can and will become thin, dry, and itchy. If you’ve ever had a skin condition like eczema, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Many leading healthcare professionals and dermatologists will recommend that we constantly use moisturizer or dermatologist approved products to combat these symptoms – but other than that, there’s not many additional options to consider.
Being tired can and will happen quite often – due to the night sweats, trouble sleeping, and other irritating symptoms during menopause.
The worst part about the situation is that a good nights’ rest will not cure the fatigue that you’re experiencing – I know from first hand experience.
In turn, fatigue can affect productivity, overall mood, and nightly sleep quality. If you start to experience chronic fatigue that doesn’t go away for weeks, it’s best to consult your doctor to see what you can do to feel rested again.
Anxiety often turns up right around the time where a mood swing happens.
The two hormones that control and regulate mood are dopamine and serotonin, but during menopause, the drop in estrogen levels greatly affects dopamine and serotonin in the body. Those two hormones aren’t too great at helping out anxiety during menopause.
Menopause treatment herbal supplements have been known to help many women that I know, though. So, if you’re looking to alleviate anxiety and mood swings, look into that.
If lack of sleep really starts to affect your daily life, sleeping tablets prescribed by a doctor or over the counter melatonin may be necessary.
Usually, it’s the night sweats that are the most common cause of disrupted sleep. However, insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing can play their own part, too.
Some instances can get dangerous, so it’s best to look out for extreme and often disrupted sleep patterns – but again, these symptoms don’t affect every single one of us.
As we women age, our hair naturally falls out more and thins down. Menopause can accelerate that hair loss.
Biologically, hair follicles require estrogen to grow. With low levels of estrogen, hair is susceptible to becoming dry and brittle, breaking off easily, and falling out during the shower and while brushing knots out.
It’s not something that can generally be stopped, but again, not every single one of us going through menopause will be hit with this symptom.
Short term memory loss and memory lapses do happen. But, there’s no need to panic, as they are temporary and do not affect our bodies long term.
To reduce this symptom, I’d say start using brain training exercises to keep your mind sharp, on point, and focused.
The lack of estrogen and progesterone is the cause of it. Foggy thinking does happen every once in a while, but it’s natural, even if it doesn’t feel natural.
Normal levels of estrogen push the body to burn glucose for energy on the daily. A lack of estrogen does the opposite – and with minimal energy regulating through the body, many side effects may start to occur.
For instance, lack of concentration and focus are difficult to maintain with low levels of estrogen. Usually, this symptom will happen in the early stages of the hormonal decline.
Mood swings and poor nightly sleep can contribute and make concentrating even more difficult.
When we get older, it’s harder to lose weight once we gain it. Realistically, the only things that can keep us balanced and in a good weight category is eating healthy and exercising regularly.
What’s more, is that fat often tends to maneuver its way over to the abdomen and stay there. Having a bit of a gut is not something we want, am I right?
Unfortunately, muscle and lean body mass may also be affected during this time of weight gain. That’s something to watch out for and talk to your doctor about, if and when it happens. Menopause weight gain treatments may also help.
Lack of estrogen does a lot to our bodies that we just don’t want to happen – and dizzy spells/vertigo are definitely in that category.
Forewarning, the dizziness may come on suddenly, but it usually only lasts for a couple of minutes.
On the other hand, it may happen more frequently than you’d like. Falling down may start to happen if you’re dizzy spells are frequent.
If you’re looking for an early sign that you’re going through menopause, bloating would be it.
Bloating is actually one of the very first symptoms, if not the actual first. It’ll typically start to frequently happen when you get your period later on in life.
Bloating can also be known as fullness, tightness, or swelling of the belly. And trust me, when you get it, you wish it would just go away.
Reduced levels of estrogen can thin the walls of the urethra in our bodies. And, when the walls thin down, one of two things can happen.
One – The internal muscles of the pelvic floor can begin to fail. This causes leakage while laughing, sneezing, or coughing.
Two – The body does not understand the sensation of a full bladder. This happens when communication doesn’t correctly correlate from the brain to the body, causing accidental urination.
Brittle nails go hand in hand with the hair loss that we experience through menopause. The low estrogen levels in the body lead to less collagen production, in turn leading to nails becoming brittle.
When nails become this weak, they tend to snap off and break. Sometimes, this can be quite painful if the nail breaks too far down, but other times it just becomes more of a nuisance than anything else.
My recommendation? Cut them down so that they don’t have the opportunity to split or crack and cause that pain.
Hormones are directly linked to the immune system, and because estrogen and progesterone levels go down during menopause, our immune systems are targeted.
New allergies develop when that specific system is picked on. Though, our allergies do change every certain number of years, too.
Mild symptoms may include rashes, itchy eyes, and sneezes. More intense symptoms could potentially be dizziness, cramping, and swelling.
Allergy medications may provide some relief, but sometimes, us women just have to deal with the annoying symptoms.
Heart palpitations, irregular heartbeats, and arrhythmias can happen when estrogen levels are low in the body. Low estrogen levels overstimulate the circulatory and nervous systems naturally, in turn creating such circumstances.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t make us feel all that great about ourselves – and can sometimes cause panic or extreme panic.
Tell your doctor as soon as you can about this symptom if it starts to happen during perimenopause or menopause. It’s not something that should be overlooked.
Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms that get us to sweat during menopause. Sweating more means that we can develop a body odor – and that body odor, that natural scent, may be different than what we had before.
Excessive sweating may mean that medications have to get involved.
Because, you see, when we experience these hot flashes and night sweats, our hypothalamus sends false signals to the brain saying that we’re hot, when in reality, it’s not all that hot.
Hormones contribute to emotions, we know that. Which is why, when we have less than normal estrogen levels, different areas of our brain can end up signaling different emotions. Some of those emotions, we don’t want to have anything to do with.
This silly up and down slope of emotions can lead to irritability. And when we’re irritable, a lot of problems can arise in our home life and our work life.
This symptom, we need to keep an eye on.
Menopause effects mood – hence the irritability topic that was previously mentioned.
But in some severe cases, depression can and may be the end result.
When we’re going through depression, it’s extremely difficult to be happy. Especially after feeling sad, anxious, and irritable, for a short or long period of time. Post menopause symptoms may include severe depression.
You may need to consult a doctor for medication or alternative forms of therapy if the depression continues on for months..
As a woman on menopause, I know that I’m susceptible to panic attacks – and you should know and make yourself aware of it before it happens.
Anxiety and fear can actually trigger these emotional episodes, and the end results are often not pretty.
For instance, rapid heartbeats and shallow breathing may occur if a panic attack or disorder is triggered. Once the anxiety gets that bad, other symptoms can take rise.
Urinary Tract Infection
Low estrogen levels alter the vagina in more ways than one. Yes, dryness may happen. And yes, libido levels may decrease. But, there’s more to the situation.
You see, lack of estrogen can also alter vaginal bacteria and cause frequent urinary tract infections. Sometimes, cranberry pills and over the counter creams and medications can’t help us if they’re popping up too often.
There are natural remedies and menopause treatment options you can look into, and your doctor is always there to help, too.