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    No.178: What Are the 34 Symptoms of Menopause?

    What Are the 34 Symptoms of Menopause? 

    Menopause – you know it, you know someone who’s gone through it, or maybe you’ve dealt with “the change” yourself. But menopause is about much more than your period ending - there are many symptoms and signs of menopause, some expected and others that may surprise you. Read on to learn about the 34 symptoms of menopause, and what you can do to help manage these symptoms. 

    What Is Menopause?

    If you’ve gone without a menstrual period for 12 months, your body may be in menopause. This means that your ovaries have stopped producing hormones and you’re no longer able to get pregnant. Most people who go through menopause experience it between the ages of 40 and mid-50s. 

    How Long Does Menopause Last?

    Menopause itself describes the 12-month timeframe during which you no longer experience a menstrual period. However, there are two stages that bookend menopause: perimenopause and post menopause.

    Perimenopause, the stage where your body makes less estrogen before entering menopause, can last anywhere from one year to 10 years, depending on the individual. Post menopause is the timeframe after menopause, and it’s the stage you’re in for the rest of your life after you stop ovulating.

    What Are The Top 10 Signs Of Menopause?

    These common symptoms include: 

    • Irregular periods.  Experiencing irregular periods happens in the early stages of perimenopause. You’ll likely miss a few periods until they stop completely.
    • Hot flashes.  One of the most common symptoms of menopause is hot flashes. Similar to feeling highly embarrassed, you’ll experience a flash of heat or sweat around your cheeks and neck.
    • Night sweats. Similar to hot flashes, this will occur at the early stages of menopause and may interfere with sleep and overall comfort.
    • Mood swings. Mood swings while going through menopause are a bit more extreme than on your period. General mood swings include feeling sadness or weepy, or feeling angry or irritated\
    • Vaginal dryness. When you hit menopause, your eggs aren’t producing enough estrogen, a natural lubricant. This causes your vagina to feel dry and may be uncomfortable or make sex challenging. 
    • Sleep problems.  Thank you, night sweats! 
    • Changes in libido.While some women may have an increase in libido, most women’s sex drive decreases due to low estrogen levels. 
    • Fatigue.  If you thought you were exhausted now, just wait. With the added symptoms of night sweats and fluctuations in hormone levels that accompany menopause, nap time may become your new favorite time.
    • Bloating.  Bloating is common during menopause due to gassiness, hormone fluctuations, and changes in digestion.
    • Headaches.  If you’re someone who has had headaches during your period, you may experience more frequent headaches during menopause.

    What Are The Most Common Menopause Symptoms?

    In addition to the top 10 signs of menopause above, there are 24 other symptoms you may experience due to the fluctuating hormones in your body, including: 

    • Memory loss.  You may struggle to recall things while going through menopause. This could be due to lack of sleep or low estrogen levels.
    • Breast soreness.  This is a common symptom in the earlier stages of menopause, but it will decrease over time. A comfortable bra can help support tender breasts.
    • Bladder control.  Also known as stress incontinence, your bladder may leak while undergoing physical activity. That’s also due to a drop in estrogen levels.
    • Digestive problems.  Since estrogen is low, cortisol levels will rise. This “stress hormone” contributes to digestive issues such as bloating, nausea, and acid reflux.
    • Depression.  Due to the changes occurring in your body, you may experience a lowered mood or mood swings.
    • Anxiety.  Alongside depression, anxiety is a common symptom. This closely relates to hormone imbalances and mood swings. 
    • Heart palpitations.  You may experience an increased heart rate or irregular heartbeat before and during menopause. If this seems like an ongoing issue, it’s best to discuss it with your doctor.
    • Changes in taste.  Your taste buds may shift during menopause. Suddenly, you may prefer new flavors or avoid old favorites.
    • Weight gain.  Significant mood swings, a decline in estrogen levels, and lack of exercise may trigger weight gain during this time. It’s important to keep up regular activity and healthy eating habits during this life stage.
    • Hair loss/ thinning hair.  Due to hormonal imbalances, it’s common to experience hair changes, such as thinning hair, a change in hair health, or hair loss.
    • Burning mouth.  Low estrogen levels can surprisingly affect the hormones in your mouth! If you experience numbing, tingling, or burning, it may be due to menopause.
    • Loss of muscle mass.  Estrogen deficiency is also linked to losing muscle mass.
    • Dizziness.  Unexpected dizzy spells may occur due to hormone changes, as hormone fluctuations may impact blood sugar levels.
    • Itchiness.  If your skin suddenly feels itchier than usual, that may be due to decreased collagen in your skin. This substance, which is responsible for skin elasticity among many other functions in your body, decreases during menopause. You may lose up to 30% of your skin’s collagen content in the first few years of menopause.
    • Tingling.  While tingling may last only a few minutes, it’s possible to feel this sensation in your body’s extremities. Not surprisingly, this isalso connected to your fluctuating estrogen levels during menopause.
    • Gum issues.  Your oral health may be impacted by menopause.Here, fluctuating estrogen levels are also the culprit.
    • Body odor.  Since hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most common symptoms of menopause, it only makes sense that you may have a bit more BO due to all the excess sweating.
    • Allergies.  Your hormones and immune system are linked. With your hormones in flux, it’s not uncommon for your immune system to react differently to common experience. So if you find yourself sneezing around pollen or intolerant of a certain food, you may have developed a new allergy.
    • Brittle nails.  Dehydration, low estrogen levels, and not enough keratin in your system can make your nails weak, and sometimes break. This can also impact your hair health.
    • Chills.  Since your body can’t regulate temperature as well during menopause – hence the hot flashes – you may also experience chills.
    • Loss of breast fullness.  Due to estrogen changes (that pesky culprit!) and collagen changes, your breasts may begin to sag. Thankfully, AnaOno designs bras to give you support, comfort, and full coverage, no matter your life stage.
    • Acne.  This teenage horror doesn’t end in your 20’s. When estrogen drops, testosterone rises, which can contribute to the oily skin that creates acne.
    • Dry skin.  Similar to itchy skin, a drop in collagen can keep your skin from feeling as soft as it used to. Grab the hydrating lotion -- there’s a good chance you’ll need more of it during menopause.
    • Joint pain.  The aches and stiffness are all yet another side effect of low estrogen levels. That’s because this hormone plays a key role in keeping inflammation in check. And when inflammation levels rise, so too does the discomfort in your joints.

    How Can You Treat The Symptoms Of Menopause? 

    Not every symptom of menopause can be treated, but there are things you can do to help ease discomfort you may experience. A few ways to alleviate symptoms are: 

    • Lifestyle changes.Adding regular workouts to your routine can help keep your body strong as it undergoes significant changes. Similarly, ensuring you’re getting enough protein, fruits, and vegetables can help support your body as its needs change.
    • Hormone replacement therapy. If symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life, you may be a candidate for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT replaces missing hormones and can therefore alleviate the majority of menopause symptoms that stem from declining estrogen levels. This type of treatment can come in the form of tablets, a topical gel, or wearable patches.
    • Herbal supplements and mind practices. Activities such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture can reduce stress and help support healthy sleep. In addition, there are many herbal supplements that may help reduce your symptoms.

    Remember: Before embarking on any diet or lifestyle change, it’s important to speak with your doctor. A medical professional can best guide you to the right options for your specific needs.

    menopause support

    Support At Every Stage Of Life

    If there’s one thing that we can guarantee in life, it’s change. In the case of menopause, it’s all about change: Different hormone levels, breast shape and size, skin elasticity, and even your taste may be altered by menopause. But as these changes come your way, you can prepare by researching your symptom management options and talking to your doctor about the best way to ride out “the change” in comfort.

    Dana Donofree

    Dana Donofree

    Founder and CEO of AnaOno. After a diagnosis of breast cancer in her late 20’s, Dana took her own lived experience and fashion design background and (re)designed intimates for those that have undergone breast surgery. Dana’s story has been published around the world in outlets like New York Times, BBC, Huffington Post, The Today Show, and more.