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We usually only talk about a few, but here is a list of menopausal symptoms that you may, or may not, experience. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to speak with your healthcare provider for options on how to handle your symptoms.
The 34 Symptoms of Menopause
Body odor - The body produces sweat to cool itself off. Fluctuating hormone levels, specifically the dramatic decrease in estrogen, sends the incorrect message to your brain that your body is overheated, causing the body to produce more sweat. The odor comes from the waste products of the bacteria on your skin feeding on this sweat.
Hair loss - can be caused by fluctuating hormone levels, lifestyle triggers, vitamin and mineral deficiencies in your diet, or can be due to medical or psychological issues. You could experience a loss of large clumps of hair when shampooing, large clumps showing up in your comb or brush, bald patches on the scalp, thinning hair on the crown of your head, or itchiness, redness, or irritation on the scalp.
Loss of libido - a decrease or lack of interest and desire for sexual activity. This can be caused by the imbalance of hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), medication use, sexual dysfunction/pain with sex, vaginal dryness, psychological causes, or issues in the relationship with your partner, among other reasons. Symptoms of a decrease in your libido include painful sex, lack of desire for sex, depression/guilt, and decreased self-esteem.
Vaginal dryness - decreased estrogen levels can cause the vagina to not produce the fluids that create the natural vaginal lubrication. Other causes include douching, infections, autoimmune diseases, emotional/psychological concerns, and certain medications. Symptoms include burning, stinging, itching, and irritation in the vagina, pain with sex, frequent urination, irritation when your clothing touches your vaginal/vulva area, and light bleeding during sex.
Burning tongue - a constant burning sensation on the tongue, lips, or roof of the mouth. You may also experience a dry, sore, itchy, or sticky mouth, a numbing or tingling sensation on the tongue, or have a metallic taste in your mouth. Estrogen is known for helping to secrete saliva, so the decrease in estrogen during menopause is thought to be a major factor.
Gum problems - including gingivitis and periodontitis, loss or recession of gum tissue, bleeding gums, dry mouth, and bone loss or osteoporosis (remember, teeth are made of bone).
Electric shocks - that feel like a rubber band snapping, a zap of electricity, burning pins and needles, sharp stabs, or tingling, on various parts of the body.
Sleep disorders - to include snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. The inability to fall, or remain, asleep can also be due to night sweats and hot flashes.
Weight gain - usually occurs in the abdominal area
It really makes me uneasy when I hear women say that they feel bombarded with symptoms and feel like their bodies have failed or betrayed them. When in reality, their body is just doing what it was naturally designed to do. We just weren’t properly educated on what to expect when we get to this chapter in life. There’s no need to go into menopause unaware of what may occur. You may or may not experience most of these symptoms, but it’s good to know what to look out for, so that you can prepare yourself when working with your healthcare provider on how to treat or decrease your symptoms. You are your body’s best advocate!