Hamptons Wellness: 34 Menopause Symptoms
I am slowly approaching the next phase of my life and in my quest to understand what is going on with me, I found an article called 34 Menopause Symptoms and I knew I needed to share this with all of you traveling this journey with me. Let me assure you, you are not loosing your mind……we are just a MESS and God help the people who have to live with us.
Many women experience some physical and emotional symptoms during menopause, caused by hormonal imbalance. Some women begin to experience menopause symptoms around her mid-40’s as her body’s reproductive capability comes to the end. I find it fascinating that women bleed for 5 days every month except those month you are pregnant for nearly 40 years. Sometimes women decide to go to places like Advanced Gynecology (http://www.gyngeorgia.com/) for help with menopause management.
34 Menopause Symptoms
1. Hot Flashes
Hot flashes: a sudden feeling of warmth spreading all over the face and upper bodyHot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are a sudden, transient sensation of warmth or heat that spreads over the body, creating a flushing, or redness, that is particularly noticeable on the face and upper body. The experience of hot flashes can range between delicate flushes and a sensation of engulfing flames.
2. Night Sweats
Night sweats are a common symptom of menopause that occurs during sleepNight sweats are classified as severe hot flashes that occur during sleep accompanied by intense bouts of sweating. Also known as “sleep hyperhidrosis”, night sweats aren’t actually a sleep disorder, but a common perspiration disorder that occurs during sleep in menopausal women. These episodes of nighttime sweating can range in severity from mild to intense, and can be caused by hormonal imbalance combined with environmental factors, such as an excessively warm sleeping environment.
3. Irregular Periods
Irregular periods are most common in the mid 40s, as menopause approachesMost women will experience absent, short, or irregular periods at some point in their lives. A wide range of conditions can cause irregular periods, though during perimenopause the most common cause is hormonal imbalance. Periods may come earlier or later than before; bleeding may be lighter or heavier than usual; and periods may be brief or go on for what feels like an eternity. Skipping periods and “spotting” – bleeding between periods – are also common symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
4. Loss of Libido
A hormonal imbalance or prescription drug can lower sex driveEveryone experiences peaks and valleys in sexual desire, an ebb and flow in libido that could be caused by any of a variety of factors. However, for women going through menopause, this sudden drop in desire for sexual activity or intimacy can be troubling. In menopausal women, the main cause of low sex drive is hormonal imbalance, predominantly androgen deficiency. Loss of libido can also be caused by other menopause symptoms themselves, such as vaginal dryness or depression, or by prescription drugs, including medication prescribed to treat menopause symptoms.
5. Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is the lost of moisture inside the vagina Vaginal dryness occurs when the usually moist and soft feeling of the lining of the vagina disappears, bringing about symptoms such as itchiness and irritation. When estrogen levels drop during perimenopause, the vaginal tissue becomes drier, thinner, and less elastic. Lack of lubrication leads to sex becoming uncomfortable, and the vagina is frequently itchy, easily irritated, and more prone to infections.
6. Mood Swings
Chronic, intense mood swings may be a psychological disorderMenopausal mood swings are surprisingly common, but can be hard to cope with. A woman experiencing mood swings may feel like she is on a rollercoaster of emotions: one minute she’s up, the next minute she’s down. Mood swings can be sudden and intense, although the experience of them may differ from woman to woman.
Fatigue is a persistent feeling of weakness, tiredness, and lowered energy levelFatigue, one of the most common menopause symptoms, is defined as an ongoing and persistent feeling of weakness, tiredness, and lowered energy levels, rather than just sleepiness or drowsiness. Other characteristics of fatigue may include apathy, irritability, and decreased attention span. Crashing fatigue is a phenomenon which comes on suddenly, leaving a woman devoid of energy and unable to continue her activity.
8. Hair Loss or Thinning
Hair loss can be sudden or gradual shedding or thinning of hair on your headHair loss, one of the most physically noticeable menopause symptoms, is caused by estrogen deficiency, because hair follicles need estrogen to sustain hair growth. Hair loss may be sudden or gradual, or manifest as thinning hair on the head or other parts of the body, including the pubic area. Hair may also become drier and more brittle, and may fall out more while brushing or in the shower.
9. Sleep Disorders
During menopause, you may have problems with insomniaWaking many times during the night, tossing and turning, and insomnia, are all sleep disorders connected with menopause. Women going through menopause may find that their sleep is less restful and that getting to sleep becomes increasingly difficult. Research indicates that women begin to experience restless sleep as many as five to seven years before entering menopause.
10. Difficulty Concentrating
Not getting enough sleep or having sleep disruptions can contribute to concentration problemsIn the lead-up to menopause, many women are concerned to find they have trouble remembering things, experience mental blocks, or have difficulty concentrating. This can be confusing or worrying for women, and can have a big impact on all aspects of daily life. The main reason why these symptoms occur during menopause is hormonal imbalance, specifically estrogen deficiency. However, not getting enough sleep or sleep disruptions can also contribute to memory problems and cause difficulty concentrating, as well as the nagging pain of other physiological menopause symptoms.
Memory lapses are a normal symptom of menopause Women approaching menopause often complain of memory loss, memory lapses, and an inability to concentrate. Misplaced car keys, skipped appointments, forgotten birthdays, and missed trains of thought might seem like trivial occurrences, but these can be extremely distressing for women who have never missed a beat before. However, these memory lapses are a normal symptom of menopause, associated with low levels of estrogen and with high stress levels.
Dizziness is a temporary feeling of spinning and/or unsteadiness Dizziness is a transient spinning sensation, which may be accompanied by a feeling of lightheadedness or unsteadiness, as well as the inability to maintain balance upon standing or while walking. Episodes can last for as little as a few seconds, but can leave a woman feeling out of sorts for an extended period of time, or may even lead to falls, which can impact her daily home and work life.
13. Weight Gain
Weight gain is another sign of changing hormones Weight gain, specifically a thickening around the waist, is another sign of changing hormones levels during menopause. While some sources claim that menopause has nothing to do with weight gain, hormonal changes during menopause actually influence weight gain and redistribution of fat. For example, fewer circulating estrogen hormones lead the body to retain more fat cells as an alternative source of components of estrogen.
Incontinence is the involuntary excretion of urineIncontinence in menopausal women can be divided into three types. Stress incontinence is the accidental release of urine while laughing, coughing, sneezing, or due to over-exertion. This usually happens when the internal muscles fail to work effectively, because of age, surgery, or childbirth. With urge incontinence, the bladder develops a “mind of its own,” contracting and emptying whenever full despite an individual’s conscious efforts to resist. Overflow incontinence is the absence of the sensation of a full bladder, whereby accidental urination occurs because the individual doesn’t realize the bladder is full.
Lactose intolerance causes gassiness, bloating, and discomfort after eating dairy foods Bloating occurs in most women throughout their lives, due to digestive issues or as a part of PMS. This symptom is characterized by a swollen belly, a feeling of tightness, and discomfort or pain in the stomach area. Typically, this arises from intestinal gas caused by poor food transit; this is due to low levels of bile, which is caused by estrogen deficiency. One other cause of bloating could be lactose intolerance, or the body’s rejection of dairy foods. As people age, they produce less lactase – the enzyme needed to digest lactose.
Allergic reactions due to hormone imbalance are experienced by womenHormones and the immune system are inextricably linked, so hormonal changes during menopause can lead to an increase in allergies among menopausal women. Many women experience increased sensitivity to allergies, while others may suddenly become allergic to something that never bothered them before. This is particularly the case with hay fever, asthma, and dermatitis.
17. Brittle Nails
Brittle nails may be caused by different underlying conditions Nail appearance can tell a lot about a person’s general health and habits. There are a variety of nail changes that occur during menopause that could indicate an underlying problem, but the most common is brittle nails, or nails that are softer, or that crack, split, or break horizontally across the top of the nail. This can indicate a nutritional deficiency; however, in menopausal women brittle nails are usually due to hormonal imbalance. Low estrogen levels cause dehydration in the body, leading to dryness of the skin, hair, and nails.
18. Changes in Body Odor
Odor is produced by bacteria that grow on the skinChanges in body odor can make the menopausal women experiencing them very self-conscious. Menopausal hormonal changes cause an increase in sweat production, in response to physical menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, or psychological symptoms such as anxiety and panic disorder. This increase in sweat production can lead to increased body odor, even while maintaining a good personal hygiene regimen.
19. Irregular Heartbeat
A pounding heart is a common complaint associated with perimenopause Irregular heartbeat is one of the more concerning menopause symptoms. Bouts of pounding, rapid heartbeat scare many women because of their sudden onset and the difficulty in calming them. One of the causes of these symptoms during menopause is hormonal imbalance. Estrogen deficiency can over-stimulate the nervous and circulatory systems, causing irregular heartbeat and palpitations, as well as certain arrhythmias.
Severity and duration are factors in distinguishing ordinary sadness from a depressive disorderFeelings of sadness can be normal, appropriate, and even necessary during life’s setbacks or losses. Feeling blue or unhappy for short periods of time without reason or warning is also normal and ordinary. But if such feelings persist or impair daily life, it could signal a depressive disorder. The severity and duration of the sad feelings, as well as the presence of other symptoms, are factors that distinguish ordinary sadness from a depressive disorder. Other symptoms of depression include loss of interest in usual activities, sleep and eating disorders, and withdrawal from family and friends.
Panic attacks include agitation, palpitations and shortness of breath Anxiety is a vague or intense feeling caused by physical or psychological conditions, typified by feelings of agitation and loss of emotional control. Anxiety or feelings of anxiousness are also associated with panic attacks, and can manifest as physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and palpitations. Anxiety during menopause is caused by the sudden drop in estrogen levels circulating in the body, which reduce the production of neurotransmitters responsible for mood regulation, such as serotonin and dopamine.
Irritability involves mood swings and loss of interest in usual activitiesIrritability is a pervading “bad mood” characterized by feelings of stress, reduced patience and tolerance, and lashing out in anger or frustration over matters that may seem trivial to others. Irritability during menopause is most often caused by hormonal changes, whereby low levels of circulating estrogen have an adverse effect on the neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for regulating mood.
23. Panic Disorder
Panic attacks usually strike suddenly. Panic disorder consists of significant and debilitating emotional episodes characterized by sudden and overwhelming fear and anxiety. These feelings can be intense, and caused by physical or psychological conditions. An episode of panic disorder may entail rapid heartbeat, feeling of dread, shallow breathing, nervousness, and feelings of extreme terror. These panic “attacks” can range in frequency from a single episode to regular occurrences.
24. Breast Pain
Breast tenderness or pain is often associated with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Typically, breast pain is characterized as a generalized discomfort or pain associated with touching or applying pressure to the breasts. Breast pain, soreness, or breast tenderness in one or both breasts is symptomatic of hormonal changes, and as such often precedes or accompanies menstrual periods, and can also occur during pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause. The specific imbalance of hormones that causes breast pain is unique to each individual woman, so breast pain might occur at different times or at different intensities in individual women.
Dropping estrogen levels may cause more frequent and intense headachesHeadaches can be caused by a variety of factors such as muscle tension, drinking too much alcohol, or as a side effect of common illnesses such as the flu. However, headaches are also linked with the effects of hormonal imbalance, and therefore with the various stages of reproductive life.
26. Joint Pain
Joint pain can be caused by hormonal fluctuations instead of traumaJoint pain is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. It is thought that more than half of all postmenopausal women experience varying degrees of joint pain. Joint pain is an unexplained soreness in muscles and joints, which is unrelated to trauma or exercise, but may be related to the effects of fluctuating hormone levels on the immune system. Estrogen helps prevent inflammation in the joints, so low levels of estrogen during menopause can lead to increased instances of inflammation, and therefore increased joint pain.
27. Burning Tongue
Burning mouth syndrome involves a burning pain without signs of irritationBurning mouth syndrome is a complex, vexing condition in which a burning pain occurs on the tongue or lips, or throughout the whole mouth, without visible signs of irritation, but accompanied with other symptoms such as bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Burning tongue affects up to 5% of U.S. adults, women seven times more than men. It generally occurs after age 60, but it may occur in younger people as well.
28. Electric Shock Sensation
Electric shocks involve a tingle between skin and muscle This symptom presents a peculiar “electric” sensation, like the feeling of a rubber band snapping in the layer of tissue between skin and muscle, or, when it appears as a precursor to a hot flash, it is often felt across the head. Electric shocks usually only occur for a brief moment, but it can still be quite an unpleasant sensation. The cause of electric shock sensation in menopause is thought to be related to the effect of fluctuating estrogen levels on the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
29. Digestive Problems
Digestive problems involve many changes in gastrointestinal function Digestive problems are defined as changes in gastrointestinal function, with symptoms such as excessive gas production, gastrointestinal cramping, and nausea. There are a couple of reasons why menopausal women might be experiencing more digestive problems than previously: hormonal imbalance disrupts the natural transit of food in the gut, and stress has an adverse effect on the normal functioning of hormones.
30. Gum Problems
The most common gum problem is known as gingivitis and involves swollen gums Gum problems are common among menopausal women; although these could be due to poor dental hygiene, they are also caused by menopausal hormonal changes, mainly estrogen deficiency. The most common of the gum problems experienced in menopause is gingivitis, or inflammation and bleeding of the gums. Left untreated, gum problems can lead to tooth loss, infections, and heart disease, so it is important to seek treatment for gum problems in menopause.
31. Muscle Tension
Muscle tension leads to an increase of aches and pains throughout the body.Muscle tension is when muscles, especially the ones in the neck, shoulders, and back, feel tight or strained, or when there is a general increase in aches, pains, soreness, and stiffness throughout the body. Muscle tension is a common symptom of menopause, because low estrogen levels lead to a rise in cortisol, known primarily as the stress hormone. Continued high levels of cortisol cause the muscles in the body to tighten and become fatigued.
32. Itchy, Crawly Skin
Loss of collagen causes the skin to become dry and less youthful looking When estrogen levels drop during perimenopause, collagen production also slows down. Collagen is responsible for keeping skin toned, fresh-looking, and resilient. So when the body starts running low on collagen, it shows in the skin, as the skin gets thinner, drier, flakier, and less youthful-looking. Skin dryness leads to pruritus, or itchy skin, a frustrating symptom that can disrupt both women’s sleeping and waking lives.
33. Tingling Extremities
Tingling on only one side of the body requires immediate medical attentionTingling extremities is where menopausal women experience the feeling of “creepy-crawlies” walking all over their skin, a burning sensation like an insect sting, or super-sensitivity in their hands, arms, legs, and feet. In most people, tingling is harmless, usually occurring due to a pinched nerve or compressed artery, which reduces blood flow through the extremity causing it to “fall asleep”. However, in menopausal women, tingling extremities is likely caused by the effect that low estrogen levels have on the central nervous system.
Osteoporosis: a degenerative thinning of the bone that decreases its mass and densityOsteoporosis is a degenerative bone disorder, characterized by thinning and weakening of the bone and a general decrease in bone mass and density. Menopause negatively affects bone growth. Normally, bones go through a process whereby old bone is replaced with new bone cells, but the body’s ability to handle this process changes with age. By around age 35 there is less bone growth than there is bone removal.