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    Menopause
    1234 · 20 min read

    What are the 53 symptoms of menopause?

    The 53 Symptoms of Menopause

    What age does Menopause occur in women?

    Most women will go through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55 (NHS, 2022).

    Why does Menopause occur in women?

    This gradual process of Menopause occurs when hormone levels begin to fluctuate causing the menstrual cycle to become irregular and eventually stop (Peacock et al, 2023). There are 53 key symptoms that can occur as part of the menopause process.

    You may experience a strong emotional response at this time of hormonal change (NHS Inform, 2022), and you may also notice some unexpected physical symptoms, too. Women who experience troublesome symptoms may like to try hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications to make navigating this stage of life easier.

    Video: What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Menopause?

    The National Institute on Aging have produced a great video outlining the main signs and symptoms of Menopause which you can watch below:

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to a disruption to temperature regulation?

    1. Hot flushes

    Hot flushes are one of the better known symptoms of menopause, affecting around 75% of menopausal women (British Menopause Society, 2023). They occur because of decreased oestrogen levels in a female's body causing their body's thermoregulatory system (hypothalamus) to become hypersensitive to slight changes in their body temperature (Mayo Clinic, 2023). A hot flush can make you feel like you are overheating and extremely sweaty. It may also cause visible redness on the skin of the chest, neck or face (NHS Inform, 2023). Hot flushes can feel quite uncomfortable and some women feel embarrassed when they occur.

    Lady experiencing hot flashes

    2. Night sweats

    A night sweat is a hot flush that occurs during the night. For some women, they can be so extreme that they wake up with the bedsheets drenched in sweat (Bupa UK, 2023). Night sweats can be a particularly unpleasant symptom as they disturb sleep, meaning that you may feel unrefreshed in the morning.

    3. Body odour

    Some women notice that their body odour changes when they are menopausal (Harvard Health, 2023). The hormonal fluctuations can change your natural scent and the increase in hot flushes and night sweats may make you feel even more self-conscious. If body odour is upsetting you, topical treatments can be applied to reduce the activity of the sweat glands, helping to minimise any odours. 

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to Gynaecological and Urological Changes?

    4. Irregular periods

    Menopause is the time when your periods cease due to a fall in hormone production. It marks the end of your reproductive years. Most women find that their menstrual cycles become increasingly irregular until they stop completely (NHS Inform, 2023).

    Calendar marked with dates of a woman's menstrual cycle (period)

    5. Vaginal dryness

    One of the female hormones, oestrogen, is in charge of the natural lubrication of your vagina. When oestrogen levels fall as part of menopause, you may notice that your vagina feels more dry than usual (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Some women are unphased by this, but for others it can be uncomfortable, particularly when having sex. Vaginal dryness can be overcome by using lubricants or specific vaginal creams.

    6. Breast soreness

    If you have previously experienced sore breasts just before your period or when pregnant, this symptom may not be entirely unfamiliar. Breast soreness is a common sign of a change in hormonal levels and, therefore, often occurs around the time of menopause (WebMD, 2022).

    7. Stress incontinence

    Stress incontinence refers to urinary incontinence that occurs when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or straining (Balance by Newson Health, 2023). Some women first notice this after childbirth when the pelvic floor has been weakened, but for others it does not occur until later in life. It is uncertain whether stress incontinence occurs as part of the menopause or if the timing is coincidental and the muscle weakness represents part of the natural aging process. 

    If you are concerned, speak to your doctor who may refer you for specialist physiotherapy. If stress incontinence is affecting your quality of life or confidence, wearing a protective pad or underwear may be helpful. If you struggle with incontinence a product such as Vesomni may be perfect for you.

    8. Decreased libido

    When oestrogen levels fall as part of menopause, your sex drive can appear to vanish (Medical News Today, 2023). If you find this frustrating or upsetting, try to communicate with your partner so that you can make time for physical or sexual intimacy.

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to Mental Health Upset?

    9. Mood swings

    The mood swings of menopause may take you by surprise (NHS Inform, 2022). You might find you ricochet around a variety of emotions each day without really knowing why. Again, the fluctuation in hormone levels is likely to be responsible for this.

    Woman covering her face with her hands. One hand has a happy face and one hand has an angry face.

    10. Anxiety

    Up to one third of women may notice that they feel more anxious or nervous than usual during the menopausal period (NHS, 2022). Taking herbal supplements such as Passion Flower, may help you to manage any stress so that you feel calmer.

    11. Irritability

    It is normal to feel irritable, frustrated, or angry during the menopause (The Menopause Charity, 2023). Without your steadier state of hormones, your mood is less well-regulated. Mindfulness exercises, meditation, or another form of self-care may help you to manage how you feel.

    12. Depression

    Depression has unfortunately been linked with menopause (Mental Health UK, 2024). Not every woman will experience a very low mood at this time, but if you do, you may wish to speak to your GP for further advice and support to feel more like your usual self.

    13. Panic disorder

    Women who are going through menopause may experience panic attacks (Medical News Today, 2022). Panic attacks will not cause you harm, but they can be very frightening and unpleasant when they occur. Taking a relaxing herbal supplement may help to keep anxiety and feelings of panic under control.

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to Cognitive and Neurological Symptoms?

    14. Memory lapses

    You may notice problems with your memory as your hormone levels fluctuate (Bupa UK, 2022). This change is usually only temporary, but it can be frustrating and unsettling while it lasts. Practising brain training exercises such as Sudoku, may be helpful for improving your memory.

    15. Difficulty concentrating

    Before menopause, oestrogen levels regulate the use of sugar within the brain (NHS, 2022). With falling oestrogen levels, sugar regulation can be disrupted, meaning that you may not feel that your brain is firing on all cylinders. This may make it feel harder to focus or concentrate.

    16. Dizzy spells

    The fall in oestrogen is also thought to be responsible for dizziness (My Menopause Centre, 2021). Some women may also experience vertigo (the sensation that the room is spinning), which can cause them to feel less steady on their feet. This may lead to a reduction in confidence in physical ability, even in women who have previously been physically fit.

    17. Headaches

    The bad news is that if you often got headaches at a certain time in your menstrual cycle, then you are probably at higher risk of headaches during the menopause (National Migraine Centre, 2023). Topical treatments such as 4head cutaneous stick and Kool’n’Soothe gel sheets can ease away headaches associated with hormonal changes. If headaches persist, then you should speak to your doctor.

    18. Disrupted sleep

    The hormonal changes of the menopause may lead to disrupted sleep including difficulty falling asleep (insomnia), or frequent night-time wakening (Patient.info, 2021). Night sweats may also affect the quality of sleep you get. Taking a sleeping supplement or tablet may help you to get a better night’s sleep.

    19. Fatigue

    Many women feel extremely tired during menopause (NHS Employers, 2021). This extreme weariness can occur even if you seem to be sleeping well.

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to Mouth Problems?

    20. Burning mouth

    Some women complain of the sensation of a hot or burning mouth (The Menopause Charity, 2021). This may be due to reduced saliva production during menopause. The sensation of heat can extend into the tongue, lips, cheeks and the roof of the mouth, too. You may find it helpful to keep a cool drink nearby, or to enjoy an ice lolly or suck on an ice cube to keep your mouth moist.

    21. Taste disturbance

    Some women complain of a change of taste in their mouth, or problems with their gums during menopause (Huffington Post UK, 2018). If gum problems persist, you should speak to your dentist or doctor.

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to Joints and Muscle Changes?

    22. Joint pain

    Menopause is a common time to experience musculoskeletal symptoms (Online Menopause Centre, 2023). In some cases, this may signify the start of arthritis which could be related to age, weight, or another factor, rather than due to menopause itself. Joint pain relief gels and creams can be applied to help soothe the soreness of your muscles.

    23. Muscle tension

    If you can feel that your muscles are tight, achy or tense during the menopause (Lu et al, 2020), this might be because you are feeling anxious or stressed. When we are stressed, we tend to tense our muscles and over time, this can become quite uncomfortable. Try to be aware of your body and practice relaxing whenever you feel yourself becoming tense. Relaxing warm baths and massages can both help to ease any muscle tension that does form, as well as applying topical gel or creams to the affected area.

    24. Osteoporosis

    After menopause, many women are at risk of reduced bone density or osteoporosis (Endocrine Society, 2022). Osteoporosis increases the risk of bone damage and fractures. Maintaining a healthy, calcium rich diet, or taking a supplement that specifically supports bone health, can help to protect your bones from becoming weakened. 

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to Skin, Hair, and Nail Complaints?

    25. Itchy skin

    When oestrogen reduces, collagen levels in the skin also fall (Stella, 2024). Collagen is a building block within the skin that gives it its plump, taut appearance. Collagen also regulates the amount of water contained within skin cells, helping to keep them well-hydrated. As collagen levels reduce, skin becomes thinner and feels dry, which can make it more itchy than usual. Twice daily application of an intensive body moisturiser can help to nourish the skin cells to reduce itchiness.

    26. Hair loss

    Whereas pregnant women may notice increased hair growth, hair loss during menopause can leave your hair feeling and looking thinner (Patient.info, 2019). Using a caffeine based shampoo may help to combat hair loss and protect against dandruff. If you struggle with dandruff a product such as Dermax Therapeutic Shampoo may be perfect for you. There are also various vitamins and supplements that can be taken to help promote healthy hair growth.

    27. Brittle nails

    If you’ve noticed that your nails break more easily or that they feel thin or brittle, this is likely due to falling oestrogen levels (My Menopause Centre, 2021). If you struggle with fungal nail infections a product such as Tioconazole Nail Solution is perfect for you.

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to Sensory Changes?

    28. Electric shocks

    Oestrogen works within the central nervous system to support the normal transport of messages along nerves. When oestrogen falls, the messages can become amplified, which may lead to the feeling of an electric shock (Oxford Hormone Clinic, 2024). Some women find that they are more likely to notice this just before a hot flush.

    29. Tingling extremities

    Similar to electric shocks, the falling oestrogen levels can cause distortion, fluctuation or mixing of the messages along the nerve cells. This can lead to a change in sensation such as tingling in the extremities (HCA Healthcare UK, 2024).

    Which symptoms of Menopause occur due to Gastrointestinal Disturbances?

    30. Weight gain

    Just as some women notice weight gain when taking the contraceptive pill, the change in hormones as part of menopause can also cause weight gain (British Menopause Society, 2023). You may be able to manage this by eating sensibly and aiming for regular physical activity. However, it can be very hard to lose weight and if you struggle, you may find it helpful to access weight loss medications to give you a helping hand as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

    31. Bloating

    Feeling more bloated than usual could be one of the first signs that you are entering the peri-menopausal period (Stella, 2024). However, if bloating is a new symptom and you do not think menopause is likely, speak to your GP to rule out other causes.

    32. Digestive changes

    You may be familiar with your digestive system being sensitive to stress, certain foods or medications. Some women find that they are more likely to experience a change in bowel habits when they have their period. It is, therefore, not surprising that your digestive system may also be sensitive to the hormonal changes of menopause (Dr Stephanie Goodwin, 2023). Diarrhoea, bloating, constipationcramping and indigestion can all occur at this time in a woman’s life. However, persistent changes in digestion or bowel habit should be discussed with your GP.

    What other Menopause symptoms are there?

    33. Allergies

    Despite never having any allergies before, some women find that they become intolerant to certain foods, medications, or other allergens such as pollen or dust when they reach menopause (Melinda McDougall, MSc, MNIMH). Your hormonal and immune systems are linked and this may be the cause of any newly experienced allergies. Taking an antihistamine medication may help you to manage mild allergic symptoms.

    34. Irregular heartbeat

    Your circulatory system and nervous system may be affected by the fall in oestrogen (Medical News Today, 2023). In some women, this can lead to palpitations (feeling your heart pounding) or an irregular heartbeat.

    35. Sagging breasts

    During menopause, many women notice changes in their breasts, one of which can be sagging or a loss of fullness (Online Menopause Centre, 2021). This is primarily due to a decline in the female hormone oestrogen, which maintains skin elasticity and breast volume. As oestrogen levels drop, the supportive tissue in the breasts may become less effective, leading to a more drooping appearance.

    36. Changes in breast size

    During menopause, women may notice changes in their breast size and shape (WebMD, 2022). This is primarily due to hormonal shifts, especially the decrease in oestrogen levels. Such alterations can result in the breasts losing their fullness and firmness, sometimes becoming smaller or more saggy.

    37. Acne

    Emergence or resurgence of acne. This can be attributed to fluctuating hormone levels, especially a decline in oestrogen and an increase in testosterone (Khunger & Mehrotra, 2019). These hormonal shifts can lead to increased oil production in the skin, resulting in acne. While often associated with adolescence, acne during menopause is not uncommon.

    38. Changes in skin texture

    As oestrogen levels decline, the skin may become drier, less elastic, and thinner. This can lead to a feeling of tightness or even roughness (Stella, 2024). Additionally, reduced oestrogen can decrease the skin's ability to retain moisture and produce collagen, a vital protein for skin elasticity.

    39. Teeth strength

    The decrease in oestrogen levels can affect the strength and health of your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay, sensitivity, and even gum disease (Balance Menopause, 2024). It's imperative for women in the menopausal phase to pay particular attention to their dental hygiene and seek regular dental check-ups.

    40. Loss of confidence

    Some women may experience a dip in self-confidence when they are going through menopause (Emepelle, 2021). This loss of confidence can stem from factors such as changing hormone levels, adjustments in body image, or concerns about ageing.

    41. Recurrent UTI's

    Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) can often be experienced by women during the menopause transition (Stella, 2024). Menopause brings about a decline in oestrogen levels, which can lead to changes in the urinary tract, making it more susceptible to infection. Furthermore, the natural pH balance of the vagina can alter, creating an environment where harmful bacteria can thrive.

    42. Worsening PMS

    As women approach menopause, they may notice changes in their menstrual cycle and an exacerbation of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms (Balance Menopause, 2023). Some women report more pronounced PMS symptoms, such as mood swings, irritability, and fatigue.

    43. Dry Eyes

    Dry eyes can often be a symptom experienced by women going through menopause (Medical News Today, 2024). hormonal changes can lead to a decrease in the production of tears, resulting in dry, itchy, or burning eyes. Your symptoms can be effectively managed by using products such as lubricating eye drops. 

    44. Dry Mouth

    Having a dry mouth is one of the lesser-known symptoms that some women experience during menopause. The hormonal changes that occur during this phase can affect the salivary glands, leading to reduced saliva production (My Menopause Centre, 2021). This can cause discomfort, difficulties in speaking and swallowing, and an increased risk of dental problems. 

    Dry mouth

    45. Breathing difficulties

    Breathing difficulties, although not commonly recognised, can be associated with menopause. These breathing issues are thought to be linked to fluctuating hormone levels, particularly oestrogen (My Menopause Transformation, 2023). It's important for any woman experiencing such symptoms to consult with a GP, as these could also be indicative of other medical conditions.

    46. Brain Fog

    Brain fog, often described as a feeling of confusion, forgetfulness, or a lack of mental clarity, is a common symptom experienced by many women during menopause (SimplyHealth, 2024). It's thought to be linked to the hormonal changes occurring in the body at this time.

    47. Changes in smell

    Some women may find that their sense of smell becomes more sensitive or diminished (My Menopause Centre, 2021). This alteration, although not as frequently discussed as hot flashes or mood swings, can impact daily life and preferences. It is not known why the sense of smell changes during menopause, although it is also likely to be linked to hormonal changes.

    48. Decreasing fertility

    One of the primary symptoms of menopause is a decline in fertility (NHS, 2021) approach menopause, the ovaries produce fewer eggs and levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone decrease. Consequently, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular before eventually stopping, signalling the end of a woman's reproductive years.

    49. Feeling cold

    Experiencing a feeling of cold can be a lesser-known symptom associated with menopause (Everyday Health, 2022). While many women during menopause are more familiar with hot flushes, some might also experience sudden chills or cold spells. These temperature fluctuations are due to the decline in oestrogen levels, which play a pivotal role in regulating the body's thermostat.

    50. Lack of motivation

    A decline in motivation is not uncommon when a woman is going through menopause (Mental Health UK, 2024). Many women in the UK report feeling less enthusiastic or driven, which can be linked to hormonal shifts, disrupted sleep patterns, and other menopause-related changes.

    51. Insomnia

    The fluctuation of hormones, notably oestrogen, can disrupt the body's internal clock (Sleepstation, 2021), leading to difficulties in falling asleep or staying asleep. It's crucial for those going through menopause to recognise this connection and consider discussing it with a GP or a specialist, as a good night's sleep is fundamental for overall well-being.

    52. Heart Palpitations

    Heart palpitations are a common symptom experienced by many women going through menopause (British Heart Foundation, 2024). fluctuations can sometimes affect the heart's rhythm, leading to sensations of the heart racing, skipping a beat, or fluttering. 

    53. Nausea

    Nausea is occasionally experienced by women going through menopause (A. Vogel, 2022), although it's not one of the most commonly cited symptoms like hot flushes or night sweats. The fluctuation in hormone levels, particularly oestrogen, can influence the digestive system, potentially leading to feelings of nausea.

    The thought of experiencing 53 menopause symptoms can be daunting. However, you may only have a handful of symptoms and some may not cause too much bother to you as an individual. However, if you are struggling with the symptoms of hormonal changes, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an effective treatment to help you manage the menopausal period.

    What is World Menopause Day?

    World Menopause Day

    World Menopause Day was set up by the International Menopause Society (IMS) to highlight the menopause and how women can improve their health and well being beyond mid-life (University of Oxford, 2023); it takes place every year on 18th October.

    What have been the themes for previous World Menopause Days?

    2011201220132014201520162023
    Hot flushes & Night SweatsWeight gain at menopauseOncology in midlife & beyondPrevention of diseases after menopauseMenopause & the aging brainMenopause & Cardiovascular risks in womenCardiovascular Disease
    201720182019202020212022
    Perimenopausal bleedingSexual wellbeing after menopauseTestosterone for Women at MidlifePremature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)Bone HealthCognition and Mood

    For more information on World Menopause Day take a look at the International Menopause Society website and/or NHS website.

    Medically Reviewed by:
    Dr. Alexis Missick MBChB. MRCGP
    GMC reference no: 7151419
    LinkedIn
    Website

    Sources

    Related Products

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    • Treatment for menopause
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    Blog author

    Scott Weaver

    Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.

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