The most commonly cited side effects of menopause may be hot flashes and night sweats, but there are many other signals that your body is undergoing a major change.
Menopause, a natural biological process that marks the end of your menstrual cycles, also causes hormonal changes. Your estrogen levels decline and your ovarian function slows down. Estrogen impacts our brain, skin, bones, liver and heart.1 As a result, there are a multitude of conditions that women will notice when they enter menopause.
Here’s Part 2 of the 34 symptoms of menopause, the second installment of our comprehensive list of side effects.
The 34 Symptoms of Menopause – Continued
18. Trouble concentrating: Similar to memory changes, you may also have difficulty concentrating.2
19. Thinning hair or hair loss: Hormonal imbalance can change hair quantity and texture.3
20. Tingling hands and feet: This unusual symptom is noted by tingling extremities, most commonly in the hands and the feet; some women also feel it in their arms and legs. The fluctuating hormones affect the central nervous system.4
21. Itchiness: Since estrogen is linked to collagen production, it also hydrates your skin. As a result, a decline in estrogen can create dryness and itchiness.4
22. Body odour: Fluctuating hormone levels, or the increased sweating caused by hot flashes, may make you feel like you smell different.2
23. Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs): Some women suffer more frequently from UTIs.5
24: Weight gain: Women lose lean body mass or muscle and gain fat in the years before their final menstrual period. For the average woman, the scale registers these changes as a small, gradual, weight gain.6
25. Dry eyes: Menopause transition increases the risk for dry eyes and gland dysfunction, although other factors can also contribute to dry eyes, such as health conditions or environmental factors.7
26. Brittle nails: Because estrogen is an important player in the health of our nails, its decline can lead to soft, brittle, peeling and splitting nails that also grow more slowly.1
27. Feeling dizzy or faint: Fluctuating hormones could impact the hormone insulin. Since insulin controls your blood sugar, some women may suffer from dizzy spells or feel faint.2
28. Digestive problems: It isn’t clear what role hormones play in our gastrointestinal tract. Fluctuating levels may cause stomach or digestive pain. The stress of menopause may also play a part.8
29. Panic attacks: Similar to how menopause can cause anxiety, it can also trigger a panic disorder.2
30. Depression: Hormonal changes can lead to low mood, but if it’s persistent, you may be experiencing depression. Follow up with your doctor if you’re concerned about depression.
31. Pain during sex: Menopause can cause changes to the genitals and urinary system called GSM or Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause. Pain with sex is the most common side effect, which could be a burning pain, or itchy, and may even result in a vaginal discharge.9
32. Allergies: You may find yourself more prone to allergies since hormones can impact the type of antibody that’s linked to allergies.2
33. Muscle tension or tightness: This could be caused by the link between our minds and our bodies, and menopause may make us more prone to stress and anxiety. That stress can be reflected in your muscles. 8
34. Osteoporosis: Another side effect of hormone changes is a reduction in bone density.8 This decrease can lead to more frequent broken bones.2 Osteoporosis is very closely related to estrogen deficiency.8
Seek Medical Treatment
This is a comprehensive, but possibly not complete list of symptoms of menopause. If you have health concerns, use our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you with expertise in women’s health, to help with diagnosis, advice and possible treatment for the symptoms of menopause. In particular, always see a healthcare provider if you have bleeding from your vagina after menopause.10