What are the Symptoms of Menopause?
Irregular Periods and Irregular Ovulation
- Shorter or longer cycles
- Heavier or lighter bleeding
- Spotting in between periods
- Reduced fertility
Read more on menopause and pregnancy here.
- Reported in up to 80% of American women
- Sudden onset of a feeling of heat
- Face and neck flush
- Lasting 30 seconds to five minutes
- Occurring at any time
- Usually stop within a few years after menopause
- In addition to being uncomfortable, hot flashes can also cause
- social embarrassment
- psychological distress
Vaginal and Bladder Problems
- Skin in genital area becomes drier and thinner
- Sexual intercourse may become painful
- Vaginal dryness and burning
- Urinary tract problems may occur, such as infection and incontinence
Changes in Sexuality
- Attitude toward sex may change
- Diminished interest in sex
- Arousal and comfort may be issues
- Liberation from concerns about pregnancy
- Note: to prevent unwanted pregnancy you should continue to use birth control until one year after last period
- Risk of sexually transmitted diseases remains
Fatigue and Sleep Problems
- Normal sleep patterns may be interrupted
- Early morning awakening
- Women experiencing severe hot flashes are at an increased risk of depression, likely caused by the hot flashes themselves or by sleep disturbances.
- Stress and change in family dynamics may contribute to mood problems
Visible Changes in Your Body
- Thickening at the waist
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increase in fat
- Loss of elasticity in the skin
Other Potential Symptoms
- Memory problems
- Joint and muscle stiffness or pain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thinning of scalp hair; more prominent facial hair
- Result of decrease in estrogen; therefore a relative increase in andrigens (male hormones)
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/ . Accessed November 2009.
National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/ . Accessed February 14, 2006.
North American Menopause Society website. Available at: http://www.menopause.org/ . Accessed February 15, 2006.
Dormaenen, Annbjorg. “Depression in postmenopause: a study on a subsample of the Acupuncture on Hot Flushes Among Menopausal Women (ACUFLASH) study,” Menopause 18, no. 5 (2011): pp. 525-530. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181f9f89f