Journal / Menopause

31 Symptoms of Menopause in Women

Medically reviewed by Nancy L. Belcher Ph.D, MPA

Written by Winona Editorial Team

Last updated October 14, 2021

Talk to Your Daughters About the Symptoms of Menopause

There are many symptoms of perimenopause and menopause in women, but we will address the top 31. Menopausal women will all have a unique menopause experience, but understanding the different symptoms of menopause will help you, and your family, to manage and control menopause for women so it doesn’t control you.

Every woman’s perimenopause and menopause experience will be different. What your mom and grandma, or even sister, experienced won’t necessarily be yours. There are so many symptoms of menopause, but some are more common than others. So, what are the 31 symptoms of menopause?

What are the symptoms of menopause?

The difference between perimenopause and menopause is whether or not you continue to have your periods. Perimenopause starts in most women’s late 30’s. The symptoms of perimenopause and menopause start years, and years before the periods stop. Typically women start recognizing the symptoms of perimenopause when they are about 45 years*. 

That’s very unfortunate. They may have been suffering from symptoms like depression, anxiety, disturbed sleep, and weight gain for years and years unnecessarily because they didn’t recognize the stage they were in.

Symptoms of perimenopause are similar to menopause, but you are still experiencing periods. It is important to remember that whether you are in menopause or perimenopause, you can benefit from the same hormonal treatments. Menopause starts when you have gone 12 months without a period. 

*If a woman has had her ovaries removed, they will go into menopause almost immediately. 

What age will I go into menopause?

When women will go into menopause is a tough question. For some, it’s very early, and others are still having a regular period into their late 50s, but the average age of menopause is 51. 

How long does menopause last?

Perimenopause can last from 1-10 years for most women, and usually starts earlier than most women want to admit. In your late 30’s, your ovaries will release less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone than in previous years. Once your period has stopped for a year, you are in ‘Menopause’ and symptoms will likely increase in severity in your mid-40s and 50’s. The postmenopausal phase is where menopause symptoms slowly subside. Overall, from the beginning of perimenopause until post-menopause can last more than 2 decades. It’s worth getting appropriate treatment for this long-lasting ‘phase.’ If not properly treated, you can experience some long-term health complications like osteoporosis, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.

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What are the 31 symptoms of menopause?

  1. Irregular or Non-existent Periods: Irregular periods are among the earlier symptoms of perimenopause in most women. As we age, our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone hormone levels drop steadily. With the variations in hormone levels, you may get signs of premenstrual syndrome like irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness without a resulting period.

  2. Hot Flashes aka Night Sweats: Hot flashes are probably the most recognized early symptoms of menopause and perimenopause and menopause. What most women experience is a red neck and face. When you have hot flashes, your body suddenly overheats, and you experience sweating and night sweats because the hormones responsible for controlling your body’s temperature drop. Spicy foods and hot drinks can trigger hot flashes.

  3. Weight Gain: Weight gain during menopause, especially around your middle, is caused by the drop in hormones. Replacing the low hormones, exercise and a healthy diet can help you combat the accumulation of belly fat.

  4. Anxiety & Panic Attacks: When estrogen drops (with peri- and menopause) another hormone, cortisol actually increases. Cortisol increases stress levels and anxiety. Anxiety affects one out of three menopausal women and may contribute to panic attacks.

  5. Sleep Problems: Insomnia is common. Partially because of night sweats, but anxiety can keep you from falling asleep. Dropping progesterone levels also can cause sleep disruptions. 

  6. Fatigue: Feeling exhausted is common during menopause, but not acceptable. By replacing the lost hormones, especially testosterone you can regain your energy.

  7. Fogginess and Concentration Difficulties: The hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone have everything to do with brain activity. As these hormones drop so does your ability to focus and concentrate. 

  8. Irritability: Fluctuations in your hormones are associated with changes in mood at menopause. Try relaxing activities and exercise, or meditating to help control the changes in your moods.

  9. Vaginal Dryness & Painful Sex: During perimenopause and menopause, the natural lubrication of your vagina basically dries up. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are responsible for vaginal lubrication. As you age the hormones drop and the natural ability to lubricate the vagina decreases, and as a result, you experience and sometimes painful, uncomfortable sex.

  10. Changes in Libido: With the decrease in hormones, especially testosterone, women report having a decrease in their libido. 

  11. Mood Swings: Hormones are the biggest culprit for mood swings. As the hormones drop many women experience as well. While the mood swings are similar to mood changes you may have experienced during your periods, these swings tend to be extreme and last longer.

  12. Depression: A problem that simply should not be ignored. Hormones dropping leads to a host of emotional problems, the most worrisome being depression. Studies show that women younger than 45 years are less likely to be depressed compared to those who are older. 

  13. Memory Lapse: Temporary forgetfulness is a common symptom you will experience with menopause. Memory lapse can be a combination of anxiety, sleep deprivation, and fatigue associated with the drop in hormones.

  14. Dry, Wrinkly, Itchy, Aging Skin: When your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels decrease during menopause, collagen production also decreases. Collagen is a protein your body produces that strengthens your skin and keeps it moist. When it drops, your skin becomes dry, wrinkly, and itchy.

  15. Achy Muscles & Joint: Decreased hormones cause increased inflammation and lead to achy muscles and joints. Hormone replacement, yoga, and meditation can relieve stress and help your body relax for your muscles to loosen.

  16. Stress Incontinence: The inability to control your bladder when you lift heavy items, laugh, or cough is called stress incontinence. During menopause, the drop in testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone weakens the bladder and the adjoining muscles and result in urine leaks with physical activities.

  17. Bloating: Bloating is a common perimenopausal symptom, especially if it persists after your period is over for the month.

  18. Breast Tenderness: Feeling soreness in your breasts, like that when you are having your period or pregnant, is a common perimenopause symptom. 

  19. Headaches: If you experienced headaches during your periods, it is common to get headaches during menopause too. The hormones that your ovaries release during monthly periods are related to headaches. When hormone levels are held steady you will likely have a decrease in headaches. With peri- and menopause your hormones are fluctuating which explains why headaches can be more frequent and severe.

  20. Joint Pain: Estrogen and testosterone are responsible for strengthening bones and protecting them from inflammation. So, when the levels of the hormones decrease, you can expect some increased inflammation.

  21. Burning Tongue: It sounds weird, but it is real. A burning tongue is due to dry mouth that may be due to reduced levels of estrogen. Just like the vaginal dryness due to decreased estrogen, the mouth can dry out too because of reduced saliva production.

  22. Mouth/Gum Problems: Gum problems during menopause can cause your mouth to taste like metal and decrease the ability to taste foods that you once enjoyed.

  23. Digestive Problems: What do we mean by digestive problems? Gas, flatulence, bloating, nausea, and abdominal cramps. When estrogen drops, cortisol increases. Cortisol increases GI issues.

  24. Tingling of the Extremities: Tingling sensations in their fingers and toes is common. So is a burning sensation and some numbness due to the drop in your estrogen levels. As hormones drop, it affects your central nervous system, which relays signals to the rest of your body.

  25. Dizziness: Sudden unexplainable dizziness during menopause is scary, but common with perimenopause. Hormone replacement can help.

  26. Hair Loss:

     While we know that men lose their hair due to hormone changes, women do too.

    Age may affect your hair volume and also make it thin. Menopause can make you lose hair faster.

  27. Brittle Nails: Your nails will likely break more easily during menopause. Estrogen is responsible for keeping your nails strong. When it reduces, nails weaken causing brittle nails for many.

  28. Changes in Body Odor: The scent that you have long recognized as your natural body odor often changes when you reach menopause. These changes may be due to hormonal changes and frequent sweating associated with hot flashes, skin dryness, and anxiety.

  29. Allergies: Our hormones and our immune system are interlinked. So, finding yourself allergic to new things is common with menopause.

  30. Irregular Heartbeat: Sort of a flutter really, you may notice changes in your heartbeat. Some people might call them palpitations. Similar to the tingling sensations you may experience during menopause, irregular heartbeats occur because the drop in hormones may cause neurons to misfire.

  31. Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition associated with weak bones that are prone to fractures. A significant function of estrogen is to maintain healthy and strong bones. When your estrogen levels lower during menopause your bones weaken. You can prevent this.

We recognize that is a long list of pretty sad symptoms, but we have solutions in the form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). All of these 31 symptoms are easily treatable and this transition can be a positive experience free of these debilitating symptoms.

What is HRT?

Hormone Replacement Therapy, HRT, is a natural medical treatment for the symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy is the most recognized method of managing menopausal symptoms and replacing deficient hormone levels. It helps not just with symptoms but with future health issues caused by low hormone levels, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Since the cause of menopausal symptoms arises from low levels of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate the symptoms.

Summary

There are many symptoms of menopause in women. Menopausal women will all have a unique menopause experience, but understanding the different symptoms of menopause can help you to manage and control menopause for women so it doesn’t control you. 

While female menopause is a normal phase of life, there are ways to treat the often-chronic symptoms that result from menopause. Winona encourages women to try various treatment options whether it is Hormone Replacement Therapy, diet, or lifestyle changes (or all three) to identify what works best for them. Remember, menopause is a positive beginning, with the opportunity to take preventive action against major health risks associated with the decreasing hormones associated with menopause.

Whether experiencing severe or minor symptoms, women can embrace their evolving bodies by providing the nutrients their body needs like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Bioidentical hormones as HRT can enable them to move through this sometimes precarious phase with grace and wellness.  Let the Winona women’s health care experts work with you to replace the missing ingredients to help you feel and stay young and healthy.

“This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.”