We’ve all heard the jokes about having hot flashes during menopause.
It’s no joke, however, to suffer through this and other symptoms of this “change of life.” Hot flashes may be the best known side effect, but did you know there are many more symptoms that come with this natural aging process? If you’re wondering why you have problems concentrating or your hair is thinning, it could be one of the many side effects—there are up to 34 of them!
What are the 34 symptoms of menopause? Here’s the comprehensive list.
“Going Through” Menopause
Menopause is a natural biological process that women move into as they age. Its most noted symptom is that it marks the end of your menstrual cycles. Menopause is diagnosed after you go 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.1
Menopause can also be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries. Changes occur when the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly.2
Besides the end of your monthly periods, there are other physical and emotional symptoms that go along with menopause, some that even impact emotional health.1
The 34 Symptoms of Menopause
1. Hot flashes: These are the butt of many jokes, but they are no laughing matter. This common symptom feels like a sudden flare of heat, paired with sweating and flushed skin. They can vary in intensity and duration.3
2. Changes in your period: This might be what you notice first—irregular periods that are shorter or last longer, or you might bleed more or less than usual.2
3. Night sweats: Changes or imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels can raise your body’s core temperature, and being hot disrupts your sleep.4
4. Trouble sleeping: Besides feeling hot, women in menopause often have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. That could mean you have trouble falling asleep, you wake up too early, or you wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep.2
5. Mood changes: You might feel moodier or more irritable, and scientists don’t know why.2
6. Lower sex drive: The hormones that control your menstruation also control your sex drive, so decreased libido is a common symptom of menopause.5
7. Vaginal dryness: Lower estrogen levels make it harder for your vagina to produce natural lubrication.5
8. Loss of bladder control or incontinence: You may have a sudden urge to urinate, or urine may leak. 2
9. Breast tenderness: Which could be soreness in your nipples or breasts.5
10. Feeling tired: Being fatigued is a common symptom, and often women feel overtired because their sleep is disrupted by other menopause symptoms.5
11. Heart palpitations: Among others, this symptom should be followed up with a doctor.2
12. Changes in taste: Fluctuating hormone levels can affect the environment of your mouth, changing the way you taste food.5
13. Burning mouth sensation: Changing hormone levels can also create a burning, tingling, or tender feeling—or make your taste buds feel more sensitive.5
14. Bloating: Fluctuating estrogen can cause water retention, which leads to bloating.6
15. Anxiety: A feeling of constant worry and concern out of all proportion can occur in perimenopause—the transition into menopause—and in menopause, as altered estrogen levels can affect the brain.7
16. Headaches: Some women suffer from aches and pains, including headaches.2 Joint pain is also common, and women in midlife are far more likely to experience chronic pain than men.8
17. Memory problems: Whether it’s changes in hormones or the fact you’re not sleeping well, your memory may change.5
(See Part 2 for the remainder of the list).
See a Doctor
If you are in menopause and suffering from one or more of these symptoms, see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Use our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you with expertise in women’s health. You can learn more about menopause, as there are many effective treatments available, from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy.1 As well, preventive health care tests continue to be important as you age—such as colonoscopy, mammography, triglyceride screening, and breast and pelvic exams. Always see a healthcare provider if you have bleeding from your vagina after menopause.1