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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
What is the most commonly reported symptom of menopause?
One of the most commonly reported symptoms of menopause is hot flashes (also known as hot flushes). Hot flashes may be experienced by women as they go through the menopausal transition. They are characterized by sudden and intense sensations of heat, typically starting in the chest or face and spreading throughout the body. Hot flashes can be accompanied by sweating, flushing of the skin, and an increased heart rate.
What are the primary symptoms of menopause?
Menopause is a natural biological transition in a woman's life, and it may be associated with a variety of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms. The primary symptoms of menopause can vary among individuals, and some women may experience these symptoms to a greater or lesser degree. Here are some primary symptoms of menopause:
- Hot Flashes: Hot flashes are sudden and intense sensations of heat, often accompanied by sweating and flushing of the skin. They can be brief or long-lasting and can occur both during the day and at night (night sweats).
- Irregular Menstrual Cycles: Menstrual cycles may become irregular during perimenopause, leading to changes in the timing, duration, and flow of menstrual periods. Eventually, menstrual periods stop altogether, marking the onset of menopause.
- Vaginal Changes: Reduced estrogen levels can lead to vaginal dryness, thinning of the vaginal walls (vaginal atrophy), and discomfort or pain during intercourse.
- Mood Swings: In some women, hormonal fluctuations during menopause can result in mood swings, irritability, and changes in emotional well-being. Some women may experience increased anxiety or feelings of sadness.
- Sleep Disturbances: Sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and night sweats, may also be common during menopause, leading to fatigue.
- Changes in Libido: Hormonal changes can lead to changes in sexual desire and function.
- Weight Changes: Women may experience weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, during and after menopause.
- Urinary Symptoms: Urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, urinary urgency, and urinary incontinence can occur.
- Joint Pain: Some women experience joint pain or stiffness during menopause.
- Headaches: Hormonal fluctuations can trigger headaches or migraines in some women.
- Breast Changes: Breasts may become more tender or change in size.
- Hair and Skin Changes: Changes in hormone levels can affect hair texture and skin, leading to dryness, thinning hair, and changes in skin elasticity.
- Heart Palpitations: Some women may experience heart palpitations, a sensation of rapid or irregular heartbeat, during menopause.
What are the 37 symptoms of menopause?
Menopause can bring a wide range of symptoms, and while there are many possible symptoms associated with this life transition, it's important to note that not all women will experience all of them and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary widely among individuals. Here is a list of some of the common symptoms and changes that women may experience during menopause:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful intercourse
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbances
- Changes in libido
- Weight gain
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Joint pain
- Breast tenderness
- Hair thinning or loss
- Dry skin
- Changes in skin elasticity
- Brittle nails
- Heart palpitations or heart disease
- Changes in body odor
- Changes in body composition (fat distribution)
- Changes in menstrual flow (heavier or lighter)
- Changes in urinary frequency or urinary tract infections
- Urinary incontinence
- Digestive issues
- Changes in body temperature regulation
- Allergies or sensitivities
- Weakening of pelvic floor muscles
- Gum problems
- Itchy or crawly skin
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
When does menopause most commonly occur?
Menopause most commonly occurs in most women between the ages of 45 and 55, with the median age of natural menopause occurring around 51 years old. When menopause occurs before age 40 it is considered premature menopause, which may be associated with an increased risk for health complications. Premature menopause may be due to primary ovarian insufficiency when ovaries stop functioning correctly. Menopause can vary widely among individuals, and the timing of menopause can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and health history.
What is the most common early symptom of perimenopause?
One early symptom of perimenopause is a change in menstrual patterns. Irregular menstrual cycles may be one of the first signs that a woman is entering perimenopause, which is the transitional stage leading up to menopause. These changes can include:
- Irregular Periods: Menstrual cycles may become irregular, meaning that the timing, duration, and flow of periods may vary from one cycle to the next. Some cycles may be shorter than usual, while others may be longer.
- Changes in Flow: Menstrual flow may become lighter or heavier than usual.
- Skipped Periods: Some women experience skipped periods or missed periods altogether.
- Spotting: Spotting between periods can occur.
These changes in menstrual patterns are primarily due to fluctuations in hormone levels, especially declining levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are characteristic of perimenopause. While irregular periods may be common during perimenopause, it's important to remember that other symptoms can also occur during this stage, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and changes in vaginal health.
What is the best indicator of menopause?
The best indicator of menopause is the absence of menstruation for a continuous period of 12 months, known as "amenorrhea." When a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months, she is considered to have reached menopause. This is a clear and definitive marker that she has completed the transition from perimenopause to menopause.
When are the worst symptoms of menopause?
The timing and severity of menopausal symptoms can vary widely among women. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, many women find that their menopausal symptoms are most intense during the perimenopausal stage, which is the transitional period leading up to menopause. Here are some key points about when menopausal symptoms tend to be most challenging:
Perimenopause: Perimenopause typically lasts for several years leading up to menopause, which is defined as 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. During perimenopause, hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, fluctuate significantly. These hormonal fluctuations can result in a wide range of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, and changes in libido. Many women experience the most intense and bothersome symptoms during this phase and some utilize hormone therapy to reduce the impact of symptoms.
Menopause: Once a woman has reached menopause (12 consecutive months without a period), some symptoms may continue, but they may become less severe and more manageable over time. For example, while hot flashes and night sweats may persist, their frequency and intensity often decrease.
Postmenopause: Postmenopause refers to the period after menopause has been reached. During this stage, many women find that their symptoms further improve, and they may experience fewer or less severe menopausal symptoms than they did during perimenopause. However, in some postmenopausal women, some symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and changes in bone health, may continue to be of concern.
What triggers menopause?
Menopause is primarily triggered by natural biological processes related to aging and hormonal changes. It is a normal and inevitable life transition that typically occurs as a woman ages. Here are the key factors that trigger menopause:
- Ovarian Aging: The primary trigger for menopause is the gradual decline in the function of the ovaries. Women are born with a finite number of eggs in their ovaries, and as they age, the number of eggs decreases and ovaries stop releasing eggs. Over time, the ovaries become less responsive to hormonal signals from the pituitary gland, which leads to changes in hormone production.
- Hormonal Changes: One of the hormonal changes that occur during menopause is a significant decrease in estrogen production. Estrogen, along with progesterone, regulates the menstrual cycle and plays a vital role in various bodily functions. As estrogen levels decline, it leads to changes in the menstrual cycle and the onset of menopausal symptoms.
- Perimenopause: Before reaching menopause, women go through a transitional stage known as perimenopause. This stage can last for several years and is characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, hormonal fluctuations, and the onset of menopausal symptoms. Perimenopause is a natural part of the menopausal process and typically begins in a woman's 40s, although it can start earlier or later.
- Genetics: Genetic factors can influence the timing of menopause. If a woman's mother or sisters experienced menopause at a particular age, she may be more likely to reach menopause around the same age.
- Lifestyle and Health Factors: Certain lifestyle and health factors can influence the timing of menopause. Smoking, for example, has been associated with an earlier onset of menopause. Additionally, certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, can induce menopause earlier.
How long do menopause symptoms last?
The duration of menopause symptoms can vary widely among women. Some women may experience symptoms for a relatively short period, while others may have symptoms that persist for many years.
What are the pains of menopause?
Menopause can bring various physical discomforts and pains for some women. These symptoms can vary in intensity and duration among individuals. Some common pains and discomforts associated with menopause include:
- Hot Flashes: Hot flashes are characterized by sudden and intense sensations of heat, often accompanied by sweating and flushing of the skin. While they are not typically painful, they can be extremely uncomfortable and disruptive.
- Night Sweats: Night sweats are hot flashes that occur during sleep, leading to waking up drenched in sweat. They can disrupt sleep and contribute to feelings of fatigue.
- Joint Pain: Some women experience joint pain or stiffness during menopause. This pain can affect various joints in the body.
- Headaches: Hormonal fluctuations can trigger headaches or migraines in some women.
- Breast Tenderness: Breast tenderness or discomfort can occur as hormone levels change during menopause.
- Vaginal Discomfort: Vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls (vaginal atrophy) can lead to discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse.
- Muscle Tension: Increased stress and hormonal changes can lead to muscle tension and discomfort.
- Digestive Discomfort: Some women may experience digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or changes in bowel habits.
- Skin Irritation: Changes in hormone levels can affect skin health, potentially leading to dryness, itchiness, or increased sensitivity.
- Osteoporosis-Related Pain: Osteoporosis, which becomes a concern after menopause due to decreased bone density, can lead to pain and fractures in the bones, particularly in the spine, hips, and wrists.
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