48 Symptoms Of Menopause

Infographic on a yellow background showing the common symptoms of menopause, hot flushes, low libido, night sweats, frequency of periods, insomnia, weight gain, brain fog, low energy levels and mood changes.

The 48 symptoms of menopause

Menopause affects everyone differently, and as a result, the range and severity of symptoms vary for each person going through perimenopause. No one's journey will be the same.

However, knowledge is power and being familiar with the most common symptoms is important.  We've put the 48 most researched symptoms below, in the hope that changing hormones in your 40s and 50s don't take you by surprise.

But it's important to stress that your doctor can support you if any of these symptoms are severe.  HRT and natural, lifestyle and diet changes can support you.  There may not be one miracle cure, but you don't need to suffer unnecessarily.

 

Irregular periods

The average age that a person's last period happens is 51.  But 8 out of 10 women suffer from irregular periods throughout perimenopause.  Periods can be irregular, and often heavier or lighter.

This is due to levels of estrogen and progesterone that regulate the menstrual cycle fluctuating like mad.  It can even mean that you can have a menstural cylce with no period.

 

Hot flushes

The most commonly known menopause symptom are hot flushes.  And it is the number one reported symptom of menopause with 75% of women suffering.

Hot flushes are caused by hormone levels restricting our bodies's ability to regulate temperature.  Being sweaty and red when you don't want to be, is a huge issue for many women though, particularly at work.

Reducing caffeine and alcohol is recommended to ease hot flushes - as high alcohol and caffeine consumption has been shown to worsen hot flushes.  You can drink iced drinks too, and cool food, wearing loose, cotton clothing. 

Our Take A Pause menopause tea has liquorice and sage as key ingredients, which are also linked in small scale studies to reducing the length and severity of hot flushes.

 

Night sweats 

Hot flushes at night time can cause night sweats, making this symptom the 2nd most reported issue in menopause.

Alongside HRT, light, cotton clothes and bed clothes, a fan by your bed and a cold drink by your bed, can also help.  Also stopping drinking caffeine earlier in the day may help as a possible trigger.  

 

Tiredness

Perimenopause can be signified by feeling 'flat' and down.  It's extremely common to feel exhausted as your hormone levels change.

Looking at diet and lifestyle - exercising early in the day to try to boost energy, heading to bed earlier, and making sure you have lots of B vitamins in your diet can all try to help.

 

Water retention

Swollen tummies are common during menopause, as hormone changes lead our bodies to store more water in our extremities causing puffiness.

You should look to reduce salt in your diet, and aim to increase potassium.  Alongside reducing stress this can really help.

 

Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is the 4th most common menopause symptom, so whilst it may feel embarassing, it is nothing to be ashamed off.  It is caused by a lack of estrogen.

Lubricants can help, talking openly about the issue and seeking help from your doctor is key.  You don't need to have an unhappy sex life.

 

Skin issues - acne, texture, plumpness 

Natural collagen levels decrease over menopause.

Low libido

Lower testosterone and estrogen can lead to a lower sex drive.  Daily gentle exercise and a healthy diet can help support libido.

 

Mood swings

Sometimes called 'meno-rage', mood swings can be a huge part of menopause.  It can lead to women feeling a huge amount of guilt, but it is driven by our hormones - like being a teenager in reverse. 

Depression

Following on from the above, menopausal changes to our bodies can lead to a low mood. Researchers have also found that women entering the menopause can be more prone to seeing increases in levels of a brain protein — Monoamine Oxidase A — which is linked to depression.

Mild exercise and a healthy diet all play a part in helping to prevent low mood. Seeking professional help is recommended if your depression is prolonged and severe.

 

Headaches 

Migraines can be crippling in menopause as hormone headaches are very real.  Stay hydrated and take time out of stressful situations when you need to.

 

Weight gain 

It can be hard to lose weight in your 40s and 50s due to the change in hormone balance. Diet and exercise are key, but also be kind to yourself - your weight doesn't dictate your worth.

 

Sore boobs

Changing hormones can lead to sore boobs, just like when you're on your period.

 

Burning mouth

A burning mouth is a lesser known but awful side effect of menopause.  Avoid spicy food and try to get creamy, cooling foods and drinks to help.

 

Bone and teeth strength

Estrogen reduction leads to a poorer quality in bones and teeth.  

 

Dizziness

Try to stay hydrated to help with this symptom, reducing caffeine and trying alternatives may help alongside reducing stress.  

Bladder Weakness

Low estrogen is responsible for this.  Regular trips to the loo aren't uncommon and you don't need to be ashamed of this.

 

Thinning hair

A decline in progesterone and estrogen causes hair follicles to loosen.  It can be a huge issue, but modern shampoos, diet and HRT can help.

 

Headaches

Migraines can be debilitating and worsen during menopause.

 

Dry Eyes and Mouth

Unusual but not that uncommon, dryness links to your body being unable to control it's water level so easily.

 

Tingling Extremities 

Low estrogen levels cause this - it is uncomfortable but has no larger significance.

 

Brain Fog

Again, caused by estrogen levels, which help get blood flow to the brain and improve concentration.  When there's a lack, our memory is affected and our ability to focus.

Stay well hydrated to try to support this, and well slept, but reach out for help if it's affecting you badly.

 

Lapses in memory

As well as aging more generally, hormonal changes during the menopause can cause us to sometimes be more forgetful — and research has shown this to be true, with perimenopause affecting our cognition.

Keep your diet and sleeping in check and consider incorporating some mental exercises to strengthen cognitive function.

 

Itchy skin

Declining collagen levels due to estrogen reducing can lead to a feeling of itchy skin.

Invest in some good skincare to help here.  Boots have a menopause range which is great. 

 

Anxiety and stress

23% of women suffer increased anxiety during menopause and it can be debilitating - don't think it's just your mental health though, HRT can help.

 

Brittle nails

Just like with changes in hair texture, your nails can become less lustrous and strong in menopause.  You can look at incorporating collagen into your diet and avoiding putting undue pressure on them.

 

Insomnia

Women disproportionately suffer with insomnia and this only gets worse during menopause.  Don't have caffeinated drinks after lunch time, try to do gentle exercise daily and consider a strong bedtime routing - we like to include our sleepy Night Owl herbal tea

 

Body Odour

Given your libido may be lower, it's quite unfair that hormonal changes can also lead to poor body odour, but unfortunately it can...

 

Heart Palpitations

Your body may surprise you with an irregular heart beat and palpitations alongside anxiety and heightened stress. 

 

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