I’ve got 34 problems, but a period isn’t one
From night sweats to vaginal dryness, electric shocks to anxiety, the list of menopause-related symptoms is exhaustive – quite literally. The cessation of menstruation brings with it a possible 34 ‘common symptoms’ ranging from mild to debilitating. One in four women will be affected to some degree, a quarter of those severely, so we owe it to ourselves to know the signs so we are better placed to deal with the symptoms when the time comes. There are many options available to help women navigate their menopause journey from natural remedies to BHRT.
At Menopause Lifestyle Solution, we believe the best place to start is through nutrition and exercise. For more information check out our 90-Day-Plan.
1. Hot flushes - Hot flushes affect around 75% of menopausal women. They usually appear as a rising redness
on the chest, neck and face and can make you feel very overheated and sweaty. 2. Night sweats - Essentially, night sweats are hot flushes that occur at night and can disrupt sleep or can lead you to feeling unpleasant when you wake up.
3. Irregular periods - Because menopause is all to do with the end of your reproductive years, your periods will start to
dissipate as your hormone production decreases. These can, therefore, become very erratic; sometimes you may get PMS but with no bleeding, for example.
4. Mood swings - With studies showing that mood swings affect 27% of menopausal women, this can feel like a more extreme version of the mood swings you may have experienced during your periods.
5. Vaginal dryness - Your natural lubrication is maintained by your estrogen levels, so as these begin to drop, you may notice vaginal dryness. This can cause some pain and discomfort, particularly during sex. Thankfully, there are a number of remedies for this, including lubricants and moisturising creams.
6. Decreased libido - A woman’s sex drive is primarily controlled by estrogen. As we’ve already established, these levels drastically drop during menopause, which can reduce your sexual appetite.
7. Headaches - These are typically more common for women who experienced them during their periods. If headaches persist then you may be suffering from migraines and should visit your doctor.
8. Breast soreness - Any time in your life when your hormones drastically change can create the same symptoms; this is typically menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
9. Burning mouth - It’s not quite as common as some of the other symptoms, but decreased levels of saliva during menopause can lead to what’s known as ‘burning mouth syndrome’. This is a hot sensation that affects the tongue, lips, cheeks and roof of the mouth.
10. Joint pain - Not all joint pain may signal arthritis, but the menopause is a common time for women to develop musculoskeletal symptoms.
11. Digestive problems - Your digestive system is one of the most sensitive systems in your body and is often the first thing to get disrupted due to any major changes to your body (new medications, new foods, nervousness). Changes to hormones are another major body change that can lead to stomach upsets such as bloating, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea and cramps.
12. Electric shocks - Because of the erratic changes going on in your body during menopause, you may notice that you experience more electric shocks. It’s also common to get these just before a hot flush.
13. Muscle tension - This can often be closely linked to stress and anxiety and presents itself as a feeling of tightness in the muscles, like a strain.
14. Gum problems - Affecting between 10 and 40 percent of menopausal women, gum problems are often accompanied by a metallic taste in the mouth.
15. Tingling extremities - It’s not overly common but a tingling sensation can appear on any part of the body. This is usually in the feet, hands, arms and legs.
16. Itchy skin - Low estrogen levels can also lead to low collagen levels. Collagen is responsible for keeping skin plump, firm and healthy so with less of it, you may notice that skin can become thing, dry and itchy. Be sure to combat this with an intensive moisturiser.
17. Fatigue - One of the more common symptoms of menopause, many women will notice a feeling of extreme tiredness.
18. Anxiety - Along with mood swings, menopausal women may notice increased feelings of anxiety. As many as one in three women may experience this during menopause.
19. Disrupted sleep - Because of all the changes going on in your body (as well as the other menopausal symptoms), You may also experience disrupted sleep and insomnia.
20. Hair loss - Menopause can act as an accelerator for hair loss, leaving it looking thinner.
21. Memory lapses - These are usually only temporary but memory lapses can occur during menopause.
22. Difficulty concentrating - The brain doesn’t work as hard during menopause because estrogen is the hormone that pushes it to burn glucose for energy. With lower levels of estrogen, you end up with a lack of focus and concentration.
23. Weight gain - The major change in hormones during menopause can cause weight gain but this can usually be combated by healthy eating and exercising.
24. Dizzy spells - Vertigo and feeling dizzy during menopause are thought to be caused by the drop in estrogen production.
25. Bloating - This usually occurs right at the start of your menopause and could even be one of the first symptoms you notice. If you’re still having periods but are constantly feeling bloated then this could be a hint that your menopause is coming.
26. Stress incontinence - A lot of women will already have experience incontinence as a result of childbirth, but this can increase around menopause. However, this could be more related to age than the actual menopausal process.
27. Brittle nails - Lower estrogen levels and dehydration can leave your nails feeling brittle and can make them snap or break more easily.
28. Allergies - While you may never have had a problem with certain things before, you may notice allergies or intolerances during or after menopause. This is because hormones are very closely linked to your immune system.
29. Irregular heartbeat - Lower estrogen levels can overstimulate the nervous system and circulatory system, which can, in turn, lead to heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat.
30. Body odour - Not only can the menopause make you sweat more, but the change in hormones can also actually change your natural scent.
31. Irritability - Your hormones play a large role in contributing to your emotions and the fluctuation can lead to feelings of sadness or irritability.
32. Depression - In more extreme cases, this change in emotions can lead to depression. Depression is four times more likely to affect women of a menopausal age than a woman below the age of 45.
33. Panic disorder - Menopausal women are actually more susceptible to panic attacks than almost anyone else.
34. Osteoporosis - Bone density can drop by up to 20% after the menopause, which puts you at risk of osteoporosis.