“What are the 34 symptoms of the menopause” is a question typed into Google millions of times. The answer? According to Dr Stephanie Goodwin, there are at least 40 symptoms. She explains more in this video, How Many Menopause Symptoms Are There?, on the MPowered Women YouTube channel.
What are the 34 symptoms of the menopause?
If you want to know what are the 34 symptoms of the menopause, here’s what Dr Steph has to say, in full.
How many menopause symptoms are there?
There are a lot of menopause symptoms. Unfortunately when you look at the numbers you see younger women looking terrified, thinking this is what it’s going to be like.
But the fact is that oestrogen affects every part of our body, hormones do. So then when you don’t have them, any part of your body can be affected. There are at least 40 different symptoms.
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What are the most common symptoms?
The most common symptoms will be hot flushes and hot sweats. The sweats are usually at night. Psychological symptoms; brain fog, anxiety, mood changes, poor sleep.
Musculoskeletal symptoms; aches and pains in places that you never had them before, recurrent inflammatory problems, frozen shoulders and so on. Urinary symptoms; women might be going back to their GP with recurrent urinary tract infections, that can be a symptom of the menopause. Or getting up in the night to pass urine or some urinary incontinence, stress incontinence, when you cough or sneeze.
Then sexual changes; vaginal dryness and soreness, which can make intercourse sometimes impossible. Lack of libido is another common symptom.
Will everyone experience all of the symptoms?
Thankfully we won’t experience all of them, that’s highly unlikely. But 80% of women will experience something. It may be that you’re experiencing slightly unusual symptoms like gastric symptoms or problems with your mouth.
So that’s why it can be a little bit difficult sometimes to join the dots together to work out whether or not this is the menopause.
What is a hot flush?
Hot flushes are a very common symptom of the menopause and they’re very variable. Some women might describe a slight palpitation at the beginning, then a feeling of heat in the chest. Your face can go bright red, you can start dripping with sweat in the back of your neck.
It’s thought to be because of the thermoregulator, so the bit of our brain that regulates our temperature, doesn’t work properly. But again, it can be very variable. Sometimes you might just have hot feet. I had hot legs when I had hot flushes. So it’s very, very variable.
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What is menopause anxiety?
Anxiety is a common symptom of the menopause. Unfortunately, many women when they go to seek advice end up on antidepressants, and of course at this time of life there are lots of other things going on. You might have kids that are not well, parents that are not well, work problems. So it’s easy to see how this can get labelled as depression and treated inappropriately.
But actually our mood is very much influenced by hormonal levels. So if your oestrogen levels are very low then that can really affect your mood. Progesterone helps you sleep and is good for anxiety, so deficiencies in these hormones can have a real impact on our mood.
Why does menopause affect sleep?
The sleep pattern is affected by menopause for different reasons. Firstly is hot flushes, and night sweats in particular. Some people I talk to are getting five or six sweats every night, so that means you’re waking up dripping wet and you have to change the bed.
Or it may just be that you wake up, so insomnia without the night sweats can be a symptom of the menopause. Sometimes it’s because you’re in pain, because you’re getting these inflammatory joint problems. It might be because you’re having to go to the loo all the time.
Oestrogen and progesterone are also involved in the production of melatonin which helps us sleep. So sleep problems are very common in the menopause, about 60% of people.
You’ll find more videos from Dr Stephanie Goodwin on menopause and perimenopause on the MPowered Women YouTube channel. Who needs Netflix! Subscribe now and get the answers to all your midlife health needs. (Then you can go back to Netflix.)