How much do you really know about the signs of menopause? You probably know the basics – the hot flashes, the irregular periods, that kind of stuff, but there is so much more. In fact, there are 34 in total! Seems crazy, right? And there are some really unusual menopause symptoms. So, what are the 34 symptoms of menopause?
It’s a long list, so grab a glass of wine. Let’s dive in.
But first, let’s start with some basics.
What Are The Stages of Menopause?
Perimenopause, also called pre-menopause, is when your ovaries release less estrogen, and the first signs of change occur. It usually starts in your 40s and can last a couple of years.
Menopause is when your ovaries stop releasing eggs, and you no longer have a period. For some women, it only lasts a few years. For others, it may last a decade.
Post-menopause is the other side of menopause. It’s 24-36 months after your last period.
How Do You Know You Are Menopausal?
There is no one definitive answer to that question.
It’s entirely different for every woman. The good news is that these 34 menopause symptoms won’t all happen at once, or even to one person.
You might only get one of these and will be the envy of all of your friends. You might be one of the lucky ones with very minimal signs.
Your signs of menopause at 40 will be drastically different than your symptoms of menopause at 52. Unfortunately, it may feel like there are 100 symptoms of perimenopause or menopause when going through it. But still, there really are only 34… for now. As research goes on, more and more will be discovered, but I think 34 is enough!
What Are The Signs You’re Coming to the End of Menopause?
Your period will have stopped for at least one year, and all the symptoms of the menopause have stopped. Maybe your madding hot flashes will have disappeared, or you’ll start sleeping well again. Time to rejoice!
The Most Common but Still Thoroughly Annoying Symptoms of Menopause.
Let me start by saying that I’m not minimizing any of these menopause symptoms.
If any of them become extreme, they quickly go from annoying but tolerable to brutal.
1. Irregular periods
This can be super annoying because you’ll for sure get your period without warning while wearing white pants.
As your hormone production decreases, your periods start to become less frequent. This doesn’t suck altogether, but you still may get all the symptoms and PMS without the bleeding. Fun times.
2. Changes in libido
A women’s sex drive is controlled by her estrogen levels. As we enter menopause, it decreases, and so can our libido.
But the opposite can happen as well. As your estrogen fluctuates, you might find yourself ready to pounce at any minute.
If you were prone to headaches during your period, they are more common during the menopausal years.
4. Breast soreness
This can start in the perimenopause phase. Any time your hormones change, your breast might swell and feel tender. Menopause is no different.
5. Joint pain
As estrogen decreases, your joints can become inflamed, causing pain and arthritic feelings, especially in your wrists and fingers.
6. Muscle tension
If sore joints weren’t bad enough, you might get muscle aches too. If you are experiencing muscle or joint pain, yoga or meditation might be something to try.
7. Itchy skin
Lower estrogen = lower collagen = dry and itchy skin.
To combat it, try taking collagen supplements and using a rich moisturizer.
8. Brittle nails
Just like your skin gets dry, the lack of collagen and keratin may make your nails brittle.
9. Difficulty concentrating
Estrogen is the body’s master regulator and keeps your body burning glucose to make energy. With low estrogen levels, the brain doesn’t work as hard and can cause a lack of concentration or focus.
If you notice that, start doing cognitive exercises.
10. Memory lapses
Oh goodie. First, we have to work really hard to focus, and then we have to try to remember what we were focusing on in the first place! It’s just not fair.
But in all seriousness, if this happens, the lapses are temporary, so try not to stress.
11. Weight gain
Just like during your period days, changes in estrogen can cause bloating. This might be especially noticeable during your peri-menopausal stage.
It’s strange but true. Hormones are closely linked to your immune system. Any radical changes may cause you to become allergic to new things.
14. Body odor
Besides menopause causing you to sweat more, the hormonal changes can cause your natural scent to change as well. Nice, right?
As your hormones fluctuate, so do your emotions. Many women going through menopause feel an unexplained sense of prickliness and irritability. Just try to remember, it’s not you, it’s your hormones, and this too shall pass.
It’s probably a good idea to remind your partner and kids of that as well.
16. Digestive problems
Estrogen levels keep cortisol, your stress hormone, in check. When estrogen dips, cortisol increases, which causes a whole myriad of digestive problems. Acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, weight gain, nausea. Pretty much all the digestive issues you can think of.
17. Gum problems
Between 10-40% of menopausal women may get a metallic taste in their mouths.
Are we having fun yet? Well, this next group of symptoms gets even uglier.
The Cruel Menopause Symptoms That Might Torture You.
18. Hot flashes
75% of women in menopause suffer from them. You suddenly feel a fever coming over your body. And in seconds, your red from the chest up. They could happen a couple times a day or a couple of times an hour, making them intolerable.
Layer your clothing and carry a small fan for those moments. You can also try Pause Hot Flash Cooling Mist.
19. Night sweats
These are hot flashes that occur at night while you are trying to sleep. As quickly as the flash appears, it goes away, leaving you in a puddle of sweat and freezing. OMG.
20. Mood swings
When your hormones go haywire, that includes your serotonin levels, which are responsible for your mood. When those levels are off-kilter, you may go from one emotional extreme to the other.
It’s not just any old tired, but severe fatigue. If that happens, listen to your body and rest as best as you can. Fighting it all the time will just cause you to stress out, which, in turn, may create more fatigue.
22. Hair loss
Women have an unexplained emotional connection with their hair, and losing it could cause a lot of anguish and trauma. But it may happen during menopause.
23. Interrupted sleep and insomnia
Insomnia is one of the most common signs of the menopausal onset.
It could occur during perimenopause and continue right through to the post-menopausal years.
The night sweats may be bad enough to make you change the sheets in the middle of the night and disrupt your sleeping patterns altogether.
24. Unexplained dizziness and vertigo
A drop in estrogen may cause dizziness or vertigo. Many people don’t put two and two together and treat the dizziness for what it is rather than looking into a hormonal imbalance.
25. Irregular heartbeat
A lack of estrogen may overstimulate your nervous and circulatory systems and cause your neurons to misfire. When that happens, you can get heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat.
Bone density can decrease up to 20% during and after menopause. That can lead to osteoporosis – a condition when the body loses too much bone and becomes more fragile. That is why you hear about so many older women falling and breaking their hips because the bones aren’t dense.
The best way to keep your bones healthy and strong is to start weight training. We have started a Strength Training Program especially for Women Over 40 called Get Strong Over 40 because we know how critical it is. Risa interviewed fitness trainer Tina Tang about the importance of strength training in midlife.
Tina created a 5 minute workout for beginners that you can do between your Zoom calls. So, really you have no excuse.
And you thought the last group of symptoms were terrible. It’s time to refill your wine, my friends. It’s not getting better.
The Most Extreme-WTF Symptoms for Menopause
Real talk = the 26 symptoms above are no walk in the park, but these… THESE are beyond ridiculous and brutal and totally unfair.
27. Burning tongue
Did you know estrogen is linked to saliva production? When it decreases, so does your saliva, which can cause burning mouth syndrome.
Yup, that’s a thing.
Basically, your mouth starts to sting and burn, like an overall hot sensation that affects the tongue, lips, cheeks, and roof of the mouth. WTF.
28. Vaginal Dryness
Same as the saliva in your mouth, estrogen maintains the natural lubrication in your vagina.
As it decreases, it may cause severe dryness, pain, and discomfort, especially during sex. If it is severe, it may cause tearing.
The easiest way to manage this is to use a vaginal lubricant when needed.
29. Electric Shocks
One of the signs of the menopause is electric shocks.
Yep, you read that right. It feels like a rubber band is snapping under your skin. They often occur at the onset of a hot flash but can happen any time.
There isn’t much you can do to prevent them, but thankfully they are over very quickly.
30. Stress Incontinence and Flatulence
The reduction of your estrogen may thin the walls of the urethra, which turns a normal cough into an underwear change.
Basically, any kind of stress on the pelvic floor (sneezing, exercise, lifting something heavy, even laughing) can cause a urine or gas leak. 😳
31. Tingling Extremities
A drop in estrogen affects the central nervous system. It can cause burning sensations and numbness on your extremities.
Pins and needles all day long, you’ve got to be kidding me.
Mental health is the basis for a peaceful and happy existence. When you’re living in a state of anxiety, there is nothing calm in your life.
On top of mood swings and irritability, menopausal women have to cope with anxiety.
One out of three women report having a feeling of anxiety as one of their symptoms of menopause.
This might be the perfect time to start meditation, conscious breathing or to drink calming teas.
33. Panic disorder
Oh yeah, peeing in your pants and feeling pins and needles all day long is bad enough but panic attacks too? Come on!
All the drastic hormonal changes mean women going through their menopause journey are more susceptible to panic attacks than almost anyone else.
Being moody is one thing but experiencing depression and panic attacks is a whole different ball of yarn.
Menopausal women have a hard time trying to restore their calm and happiness with such erratic/drastic fluctuation of their hormones and nervous system.
The Bottom Line – Hormones Suck
Hormones can really suck. And estrogen is the queen of suck, especially when it’s erratically changing and ruling your body and mind.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot about menopause symptoms in this post. Maybe more than you wanted to!
Remember, not all people experience all 34 symptoms. So, don’t assume you’re going to go through hell before you even start your menopause journey.
However, if you are struggling with the symptoms of menopause, there are specialists out there like gennev.com or menopause.org. You don’t have to suffer. Dr. Rachael Van Pelt also discussed with Risa ways to cope with the menopausal symptoms. There are safe treatments out there, including hormone replacement therapy. Hear how Amanda Thebe, author of Menopocalypse: How I Learned To Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too dealt with perimenopause in her early 40s.
Your ob-gyn is a great place to start, but some doctors specialize in dealing with the symptoms in menopause.
How many of these 34 symptoms of menopause did you know? Tell me in the comments below.