Conditions

Am I going through the menopause? 34 symptoms of the menopause

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Mohamed Imran Lakhi Content Administrator Published on: 17/10/2019 Updated on: 17/12/2020

Over the years, a lot of women have reported common symptoms they experienced as they approached menopause.

If you are unsure whether you are going through the menopause, you should speak to your doctor. They will discuss the symptoms with you to determine whether you are going through the menopause.

You can also buy a menopause test online which you can do at home.

While not all women experience every symptom, it is still worth knowing what to expect as you get closer to menopausal age.

34 symptoms of the menopause

1. Hot flashes

Uncomfortable feelings of heat in sudden, short bursts, causing redness and flushing around the face, neck and chest.

2. Period changes

Your periods may become heavier or lighter and sometimes shorter or once every few months, until it eventually stops altogether.

3. Night sweats

Like hot flashes, night sweats are caused by reduced levels of oestrogen as a woman approaches menopause.

5. Poor sleep quality

Sudden hot flashes and night sweats over time can cause less sleep and even lead to insomnia.

6. Fast heartbeats

Some women experience fast and strong heartbeats called palpitations during menopause.

7. Headaches

Headaches are more common during the perimenopause phase and become less frequent post menopause.

8. Mood swings

Hormonal changes cause sudden mood changes, shifting from anger to happiness to extreme crying.

9. Vaginal dryness

As the body produces less oestrogen during menopause, the natural moisture in the vaginal also reduces, causing dryness and painful sex.

10. Tiredness

Some women may experience chronic fatigue during the day which can affect their work, relationships and simple daily tasks.

11. Memory loss

As oestrogen and progesterone hormones are linked with memory function, women going through menopause may experience memory lapses as their oestrogen levels decrease.

12. Loss of sex drive

This can be due to the other menopause symptoms like depression, and painful sex due to vaginal dryness.

13. Depression

Oestrogen increases the amount of serotonin in the brain (serotonin keeps people in a happy mood). Less oestrogen therefore affects serotonin production, leading to low mood in women going through menopause.

14. Anxiety

The drop in hormone levels can also cause symptoms of worry and anxiety where women sometimes find it difficult to stay relaxed and calm during menopause.

14. Weight gain

This is usually due to a number of factors including natural ageing, slow metabolism and less muscle mass, leading to more fat build-up especially around the body’s midsection.

Read more: How to lose weight during the menopause?

15. Joint pains

Joint pain is common during menopause when oestrogen decreases, as oestrogen usually helps to protect the joints when inflamed from injuries.

16. Poor concentration

This symptom is usually due to a combination of other menopausal symptoms like memory loss, poor sleep quality and feelings of anxiety.

17. Hair loss

As hair follicles need oestrogen to grow healthily, menopausal women may notice they develop dry and brittle hair, eventually leading to hair loss.

18. Feelings of dizziness

Like hot flashes, some women experience sudden episodes of feeling dizzy or faint during the early stages of menopause.

19. Infections

Urinary infections are common during menopause, as low oestrogen levels change the amount of bacteria inside the vagina.

20. Feeling bloated

During the early stages of menopause, oestrogen levels fluctuate as they rise and fall before eventually falling as women reach menopause. High levels of oestrogen can cause feelings of being full or bloating.

21. Change in mouth taste

Some women have reported feeling a metallic taste in their mouths during the early stages of menopause.

22. Urinary incontinence

This symptom might coincide with menopause as natural ageing and childbirth cause women to have weak pelvic floor muscles over time, leading to accidental urination when they laugh, sneeze or cough. 

23. Digestive problems

Oestrogen keeps the levels of cortisol in the body low as high cortisol can slow digestion, causing constipation and bloating. Hence, women tend to have digestive problems during menopause as their oestrogen levels decrease.

24. Strained muscles

Some women going through menopause have reported feeling tight muscles in their neck, back and shoulders, sometimes accompanied by pains and muscle stiffness.

25. Dry and itchy skin

Oestrogen helps in the production of collagen in the skin, which gives the skin a young and healthy look. Menopausal women have low collagen as their oestrogen levels drop, leading to symptoms of dry and itchy skin.

26. Change in body odour

As women sweat more during menopause, this has been known to change their body odour over time.

27. Brittle nails

Low oestrogen levels during menopause affects the growth of healthy nails causing them to break easily.

28. Allergies

The hormonal fluctuations women experience during menopause affects their body’s immune system, making them more sensitive to allergens during exposure and causing allergic reactions.

29. Electric shock under skin

Changes in hormone levels during menopause can cause brief feelings of electric shock under the skin, especially just before symptoms of hot flashes.

30. Breast tenderness

This is a common menopausal symptom women experience, usually just after their periods stop completely. 

31. Tinnitus

Some menopausal women have reported experiencing ringing, buzzing and clicking sounds in their ears. This may be due to hormonal changes during menopause.

32. Tingling sensation in your extremities

Some women describe this symptom as a tingling sensation that affects their arms, hands, legs and feet.

33. Osteoporosis

Oestrogen helps to maintain bone density, so low levels during menopause may cause some women to develop a degenerative bone disorder called osteoporosis. 

34. Bleeding gums

Fluctuating hormone levels during menopause can cause dental problems like bleeding gums. 

How to manage the symptoms of menopause

Most symptoms of menopause are related to natural ageing and the low levels of sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) a woman produces, as she reaches the menopause period of her life. However, there are several ways you can manage some of these symptoms during menopause, and they include:

A few years post menopause, most symptoms should reduce and eventually stop. However, you should speak to your GP about troublesome symptoms and discuss treatments to manage menopausal symptoms.