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Menopause Symptoms

There are well over 30 symptoms that can be associated with your fluctuating hormones and menopause transition. Knowing what they are can support you to understand if the symptoms you are experiencing, are indeed menopause-related or if you should seek help from a clinician to explore other possibilities.

Many of the symptoms experienced cross over with other conditions, so it can be very confusing for women to know for sure if their symptoms are because of their hormonal imbalance.

If you are experiencing any changes in how you feel in your body or mind, please do not hesitate to make an appointment with your clinician to discuss how you are feeling.

To support you in understanding more about the symptoms related to menopause, here I talk about some of the common and lesser-known symptoms that can arise and take women by surprise when they find out they are related to menopause.

For an extensive list of symptoms, download my Menopause Symptom Checker on my website.

  • Hot Flushes These are sudden feelings of heat that spread mainly across the face, neck, and chest, making the skin red and sweaty. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and are among the most common symptoms, affecting around 75% of menopausal women.

  • Night Sweats These are intense hot flushes that occur during sleep, often severe enough to wake you up and leave your nightwear and bedding soaking wet. This symptom can significantly disrupt sleep, leading to fatigue and irritability.

  • Irregular Periods During perimenopause, periods can become irregular—lighter, heavier, more frequent, or less so.

  • Mood Changes Hormonal changes can lead to mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Some women report feeling irritable or experiencing sudden tears without a clear reason.

  • Sleep Problems Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early are common issues. Insomnia can be exacerbated by night sweats and hot flushes.

  • Vaginal Dryness and Discomfort Lower oestrogen levels can cause vaginal dryness, leading to discomfort during intercourse and increased risk of urinary infections.

  • Reduced Libido Many women notice a decrease in sexual desire during menopause. This can be due to hormonal changes, physical discomfort, or emotional factors.

  • Memory and Concentration Issues "Brain fog," including forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating, is another symptom that can be frustrating but is typically temporary.

  • Weight Gain and Metabolism Changes Many women experience weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, and find it harder to lose weight due to a slowing metabolism.

  • Joint and Muscle Pain Many women experience unexplained aches and pains in their joints and muscles. This symptom, often due to decreasing oestrogen levels, can feel similar to arthritis.

  • Heart Palpitations Some women experience heart palpitations—feelings of a racing or pounding heart. While often benign, it's important to rule out other causes.

  • Digestive Issues Changes in hormone levels can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, indigestion, and changes in bowel habits.

  • Burning Mouth Syndrome This lesser-known symptom involves a burning sensation in the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat, often without an obvious cause.

  • Electric Shock Sensations Some women describe experiencing a sensation akin to a rubber band snapping in the tissue under the skin or an electric shock.

  • Itchy Skin Oestrogen helps keep skin moist and healthy. As levels decline, skin can become dry and itchy, leading to discomfort.

  • Tingling Extremities Hormonal changes can cause tingling sensations in the hands, feet, arms, and legs.

  • Changes in Taste and Smell Some women report changes in their senses of taste and smell, noticing foods taste different or certain smells becoming more intense or less noticeable.

Beginning to make lifestyle adjustments can significantly alleviate many of the symptoms associated with menopause. Here are some practical strategies that you can try to implement. Please remember to be patient, improvements will not happen overnight, and it will take time, consistency, patience and self-care to begin to see the changes.

This is your reminder not to give up, keep persevering as things will improve.

1. Diet

  • Balanced Nutrition: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help manage weight, boost energy levels, and improve overall health. Foods high in calcium and vitamin D are particularly important for bone health.

  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can help combat symptoms like bloating and dry skin. Aim to consume a minimum of 2 litres of water per day, more if you are particularly active or in a hot climate.

  • Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Both can trigger hot flashes and disrupt sleep, so it's wise to consume them in moderation. Understand how they affect your mind and body and adjust accordingly.

  • Phytoestrogens: Incorporating foods that contain natural plant oestrogens, such as soy products, flaxseeds, and legumes, may help balance hormone levels.

2. Exercise

  • Regular Physical Activity: Engaging in regular exercise can help reduce hot flashes, improve mood, support weight management, and enhance sleep quality. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises. Don't think you suddenly have to sign up to the gym or start running. Find activities you enjoy, so that you are more likely to remain consistent.

  • Strength Training: Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, or lifting weights can help maintain bone density, which is crucial as the risk of osteoporosis increases with menopause.

  • Flexibility and Balance: Practices like yoga and tai chi can improve flexibility, balance, and overall well-being, helping to reduce the risk of falls and injuries.

3. Sleep Hygiene

  • Consistent Routine: Maintain a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends.

  • Comfortable Environment: Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Investing in breathable bedding and a fan can help manage night sweats.

  • Relaxation Techniques: Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching before bed can promote better sleep.

  • Limit Screen Time: Avoid screens from phones, tablets, or computers at least an hour before bedtime to help your body wind down.

4. Stress Management

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness practices and meditation can help reduce stress, anxiety, and mood swings. Apps like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer offer guided sessions that can be useful.

  • Hobbies and Social Activities: Engaging in activities you enjoy and maintaining social connections can provide emotional support and improve overall mental health.

  • Professional Help: If stress, anxiety, or depression becomes overwhelming, seeking help from a mental health professional can be beneficial. Taking anti-depressants with not help with the symptoms of fluctuating hormones, however some women do find taking them supports their mental health at this time.

If you are struggling with heightened anxiety, loss of confidence and and feelings of imposter syndrome, talk to me about how my Menopause Mindset Method programme supports women to take back control to feel energised, empowered and fearless. Visit my website for more information.

5. Skin Care

  • Moisturizing: Use a good-quality moisturiser to combat dry skin. Look for products containing hyaluronic acid or glycerine.

  • Sun Protection: Protect your skin from sun damage by using sunscreen daily and wearing protective clothing. Always use a facial moisturiser which includes a high factor SPF.

  • Gentle Products: Avoid harsh soaps and skincare products that can strip natural oils from your skin, aim for natural products where you can.

6. Vaginal Health

  • Lubricants and Moisturizers: Over-the-counter vaginal lubricants and moisturizers can alleviate dryness and discomfort.

  • Pelvic Floor Exercises: Kegel exercises can strengthen pelvic floor muscles, improving bladder control and potentially enhancing sexual health.

  • Consult a Specialist: For persistent discomfort, consult a gynaecologist who can recommend treatments like oestrogen creams or other therapies.

Please don't struggle alone, there is lots of help out there for you.

If menopause symptoms are significantly affecting your quality of life, it’s crucial to seek medical advice. Your clinician can provide support, treatments, and referrals to specialists if necessary.

Understanding and managing your menopause is essential for maintaining a good quality of life during this transition.

If you would like to find out more about my 'Menopause Mindset Method' Programme and how it will help you to understand your symptoms and take control of your menopause to feel energised, empowered and fearless visit my website

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