The 31 Most Common Menopause Symptoms

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated February 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Many individuals with a gynecological reproductive system experience menopause at some point. Natural menopause can occur between ages 35 and 60, depending on the person. More research is needed to determine why menopause can occur almost anytime during such a broad age range. However, some factors can cause the early onset of natural menopause. If you are in your mid to late 30s or older, it can be helpful to look at the 31 most common menopause symptoms to understand whether you are experiencing this natural condition.
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Menopause can affect your body and your mind

31 menopause symptoms to keep an eye out for

Below are 31 of the most common menopause symptoms experienced by billions of people worldwide. 

1. Hot flashes

Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause, occurring in 74% of surveyed participants. A hot flash is when a wave of heat or warmth floods over the body. It creates redness in the skin. Hot flashes are the body's reaction to lower levels of estrogen. 

2. Weight gain

Hormone changes can influence weight and redistribution of fat. While you may not experience significant weight gain, you may notice that your weight redistributes itself to settle more around your waist and less in other areas.

3. Night sweats

Night sweats are like hot flashes but occur during sleeping. The body is flushed with heat, causing extreme sweating while sleeping. This sweating can cause disruption of sleep, which may be one reason why tiredness and fatigue are common among menopausal adults. You may know if you have night sweats because you can wake up to soaked sheets.

4. Tiredness

Tiredness and fatigue are common among menopausal adults. Part of this commonality could be due to insomnia and the night sweats that some people experience. However, hormonal changes could also be a factor in causing fatigue. You may find it difficult to move in the morning or get tired quickly during physical activity.

5. Insomnia

Insomnia is a common menopause symptom. Hormonal changes in the body cause changes to dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, which can lead to an inability to sleep. This symptom is one reason for fatigue, and night sweats also contribute to it.

6. Irritability

Hormonal changes, fatigue, and a combination of other symptoms may make you irritable during menopause. You may be quick to snap at people when they bother you or interrupt you during a task. You may also find that you get more easily frustrated while trying to perform tasks.

7. Depression

Some people experience depression during menopause. Depression can occur for many reasons, but a hormonal imbalance often plays a role. More often, the combination of the hormone changes and the other symptoms of menopause leads to a depressive state. Some people going through menopause are on antidepressants.

8. Irregular periods

One of the first menopause symptoms you may notice is an irregular period. Irregularity can vary widely from individual to individual and can last several months or years before other symptoms occur.

Some people may assume that irregular periods from menopause will be further apart, but this is not necessarily the case. In some cases, periods become closer together first and then further apart, becoming nearly impossible to predict. You could go for two weeks between cycles, then six weeks before the one after that. Any irregularity in periods can be a symptom of menopause.

9. Loss of sex drive

The decrease in estrogen from menopause can often cause a loss of sex drive or libido. Some adults going through menopause do not perceive themselves optimally as they may have in the past. They may believe they are not as sexually attractive, which can lead to not wanting to have sex after menopause. A lack of estrogen can also reduce libido. 

10. Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is another symptom of menopause that can contribute to a lower sex drive. As estrogen levels decrease, the vagina can become dry. This dryness can cause sex to be uncomfortable, leading some people not to want to engage in the activity. Vaginal dryness can also lead to a pH imbalance which can cause yeast infections.

11. Hair loss

Some people experience hair loss or thinning of their hair during menopause. This symptom is less common or may not be as immediately noticeable. It may occur slowly and only be observable once the significant loss occurs. Some researchers speculate that hair loss and thinning are coincidental and common among older women.

12. Difficulty concentrating

Some people have difficulty concentrating during menopause. The lack of concentration has as much to do with distracting symptoms as hormonal changes. You may struggle to focus on complex tasks. Multi-tasking may seem impossible, and you may have difficulty remaining engaged in reading or watching movies or television.

13. Memory loss

Short-term memory loss or memory lapses are common menopause symptoms. Part of this commonality could be because of a lack of sleep. Fatigue and other symptoms combined with hormone changes could cause you to become more forgetful. These memory lapses are often temporary, and you may eventually remember what you were trying to recall. However, if you struggle with long-term memory challenges, contact a doctor for an evaluation, as it may be an early warning sign of dementia. 

14. Dizziness

Some serious medical conditions can cause dizziness, so get checked out by a doctor if you have frequent dizzy spells. However, dizziness can occur because of lowered estrogen, as well. You may get a spinning sensation when you have dizzy spells, feel lightheaded, or lose balance. Dizziness can lead to falls, so try to tackle this symptom as soon as it presents itself.

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15. Incontinence

Three types of incontinence are common in menopausal adults. The first is stress incontinence, which occurs when the bladder leaks when laughing or coughing. The second is urge incontinence, where the bladder gives almost no warning of being full and cannot be held, despite your best efforts. The third type of incontinence is overflow, in which the bladder empties without signaling that it is full.

You may experience one or all three of these types of incontinence when you go through menopause. It is unclear, however, whether this is a symptom of menopause or a coincidence that many adults have incontinence during this age range.

16. Bloating

Bloating can occur during menopause for several reasons. It could be a side effect of digestive issues as the hormone changes cause fluctuations in how food digests. It could also be related to irregular periods or hormone changes in general. Bloating could last for hours or days and usually presents fullness in the belly which can sometimes be painful.

17. Allergies

Because hormones and the immune system are linked, hormone changes can sometimes lead to the development of allergies. You may discover that you are allergic to stimuli you never had a problem with in the past. Lactose allergies are common, as are hay fever and other seasonal allergies. These new allergies are often not temporary and may stick around long after your body adjusts to the new hormone levels. However, talk to your doctor about remedies for these symptoms. 

18. Brittle nails

Low estrogen levels can lead to dehydration, which may cause brittle nails. Brittle nails could also be a sign of nutritional deficiency, so if you notice this symptom, check with your doctor to ensure there isn't another underlying cause. You may overcome brittle nails with nutritional supplements or treatments for the nail and by staying hydrated.

19. Body odor changes

The hormone changes your body undergoes during menopause can cause you to sweat more profusely. In addition, the changes in hormones themselves can cause changes in body odor. This menopause symptom can be embarrassing, but one way to overcome it is to have extra showers and use scented lotions and deodorant sprays.

20. Irregular heartbeat

Lower estrogen levels can cause overstimulation of the nervous and circulatory systems. This overstimulation can lead to heart palpitations or a sudden intense beating of the heart that is difficult to calm. Discuss this symptom with a doctor if it occurs because an irregular heartbeat could have many cardiac causes.

21. Anxiety

Low estrogen levels affect serotonin and dopamine, and these mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters can be responsible for high anxiety. Anxiety can be a sense of impending doom for little or no cause. In extreme cases, it can lead to panic attacks which can be debilitating and painful. Some individuals may have mild anxiety, as well, due to the other symptoms they are experiencing and the fact that they are aging. 

22. Breast pain

You may experience breast pain, tenderness, or soreness due to the hormonal changes of menopause. This menopause symptom often presents as tenderness or pain when the breasts are touched or stimulated. It can cause problems with libido, and it can also cause extreme discomfort when wearing a bra.

Note that breast pain and tenderness can also signify a more serious condition. If breast pain worsens, see a doctor. In addition, perform monthly self-examinations on your breasts and immediately report any lumps or discharge to your doctor.

23. Headaches

Headaches during menopause are most frequent in adults who frequently have headaches accompanying their periods. When you get headaches due to hormone changes in the body, they can be challenging to treat. While headaches are common as a menopause symptom, any severe headaches that prevent you from fully functioning or last more than two days can be reported to your doctor.

24. Joint pain

Some people experience joint pain as a menopause symptom. Joint pain is soreness in the joints, usually after exertion or exercise, but sometimes with prolonged sitting. Joint pain can be a symptom of arthritis or other medical conditions common among menopausal women, so report to your doctor if it persists or makes it difficult for you to move.

25. Burning mouth syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is a less frequent symptom of menopause. It is thought that lower estrogen leads to the destruction of the bitter taste buds, which sets off pain in the surrounding tissue. When you have burning mouth syndrome, you may experience a burning sensation or pain in your mouth, tongue, or gums.

26. The sensation of electric shocks

The sense of light electric shocks can sometimes occur during menopause. This symptom is believed to be due to the lower estrogen levels wreaking havoc on the nervous system. It may feel like a static shock and can occur anywhere on the body. It may last a moment but can be unpleasant. Some people report electric shocks across the forehead before a hot flash.

27. Digestive issues

Changes in estrogen levels can disrupt the natural transit of food in the stomach and intestines, which can lead to some digestive issues. You may experience bloating, increased gas, cramping, or nausea. Typically, these symptoms may not last long and occur when eating certain foods. If you have stomach pain or increased gas lasting more than two days, see a doctor to ensure there isn't another underlying cause.

28. Gum problems

Gingivitis and bleeding gums are common among menopausal adults. While this symptom could result from aging or poor dental hygiene, it may be linked to lowered estrogen production. Address gum issues with your dentist or doctor as quickly as possible. Left unchecked, it could lead to serious dental infections.

29. Muscle tension

Muscle tension, particularly in the neck and shoulders, is a common symptom of menopause. Lowered estrogen levels often result in increased cortisol production. Cortisol is sometimes called the stress hormone. Increased cortisol can lead to muscle tension, particularly in the neck and shoulders, but it could occur anywhere in the body.

30. Itchy skin

Itchy skin that feels like a crawling animal could be another symptom of menopause. The lower estrogen levels in your body also lower the collagen in your skin. This change can lead to thinner and dryer skin, leading to an itchy or crawling feeling. Making sure you keep your skin moisturized can be important during menopause.

31. Tingling in limbs

You may experience tingling or a sense that something is crawling on you, particularly on your arms, legs, fingers, or toes. The effects of a lack of estrogen on the nervous system cause this sensation. The feeling could be akin to when your foot or hand "falls asleep." However, there can be many other more serious causes of this tingling sensation, so report it to your doctor. 

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Menopause can affect your body and your mind

When to reach out for mental health support 

Some menopause symptoms may be mild initially and worsen as estrogen levels decrease. You may want to seek help to treat your menopausal symptoms by talking to your doctor if your symptoms are severe.

If you're experiencing complicated emotions or difficult emotional symptoms due to menopause, you might benefit from therapy. Alternative forms of therapy, like online therapy, can benefit those who face treatment barriers. Unlike traditional therapy, you can participate in treatment from the comfort of your home—via messaging, voice call, videoconferencing, or live chat. Mental health professionals, through platforms like BetterHelp, can assist with unique challenges like menopause.  

Research shows that online therapy can be a valuable resource for people who are going through menopause. For example, in one study, researchers found that online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) treated various menopausal symptoms. Participants reported decreased severity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats, increased sleep quality, and improved overall menopausal symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely accepted treatment that helps individuals replace the negative thought patterns that may exacerbate already difficult situations (e.g., decreased sexual functioning and increased stress levels due to menopause).

Takeaway

As you move through this transitional period, a mental health professional can help you manage symptoms of depression and anxiety and work through the emotional ramifications of going through this significant life change. Take the first step by contacting a professional online or in your area to get started.
Understand how menopause impacts the body and mind
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