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Eight out of ten of women will experience menopausal symptoms. But aside from hot flushes and memory loss, many are unknowingly experiencing the lesser-known signs.
The menopause can be a tumultuous and confusing phase, and while many know of the signature menopause symptoms– night sweats or memory difficulties -there are also various other signs to watch out for.
Stephanie Taylor, women’s health expert and managing director of pelvic healthcare company Kegel8, reveals the 11 obscure symptoms of the menopause that could be affecting you…
1. Dry, irritable skin
“Falling oestrogen levels means the skin’s collagen levels become depleted very early on in the menopause,” says Stephanie. “This can leave you with dry, flaky and itchy skin from head to toe, as well as lacklustre locks and brittle nails.”
2. Burning tongue
Having a burning sensation in your mouth or on your tongue isn’t uncommon. “The under-researched condition – actually called Burning Mouth Syndrome – can cause pain, altered taste and a drop in salvia production,” says Stephanie.
“Menopause can cause your pelvic floor muscles to weaken, meaning less support for your pelvic organs like your bladder,” says Stephanie. “This can leave you with frequent, sudden urges to urinate, which is often followed by involuntary leakage of urine.”
4. Heart flutters
“Surges in hormones during the menopause can cause heart palpitations while your body rebalances, most common in the perimenopause when the largest shifts in hormone levels occur,” says Stephanie. Symptoms include short-lived episodes of heart racing, pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly.
5. Dryness down below
Vaginal atrophy, also known as vaginal dryness, is caused as a result of falling oestrogen levels. “This dryness can not only put you at a higher risk of developing a urinary tract infection, but it can also make sexual intercourse unpleasant and sometimes painful,” says Stephanie.
6. Tooth ache or dry mouth
Alongside vaginal dryness and parched skin, your mouth can also become drier during the menopause, which can subsequently lead to tooth issues. “When your mouth isn’t lubricated, bacteria grows at a faster rate which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease,” says Stephanie.
7. Electric shock sensation
“Many women have documented feeling short sharp electric shocks on their skin,” says Stephanie. “This isn’t yet completely understood, but it’s thought it could be down to hormonal imbalances affecting how the brain interprets and sends messages to and from the nervous system.”
Even if you haven’t experienced allergies in the past, hormonal imbalances during the menopause may be the cause of a sudden sensitivity. “From eczema and hay fever to food allergies, developing mid-life allergic reactions isn’t uncommon,” says Stephanie.
9. Joint pain
“Oestrogen plays a role in managing inflammation levels throughout the body, so without it, women are more at risk of developing joint pain which, in some cases, can lead to acute arthritis,” says Stephanie.
10. Feeling isolated
It’s not uncommon for the menopause to leave you feeling isolated and alone. “As physical symptoms accumulate and intensify, they can knock your confidence and create feelings of anxiety, depression and loss of hope about the future, causing you to withdraw emotionally,” says Stephanie.
11. Unpleasant body odour
“It’s well known that hot flushes and night sweats can cause you to perspire more during the menopause, but the smell of your sweat can also change,” explains Stephanie. “Some women experience a bad case of ‘BO’, which is difficult to shift.”
If you’re suffering with any of the symptoms above, don’t suffer in silence. If you’re worried about how the menopause could be impacting your health and wellbeing, consult your GP as soon as possible.