Most women feel quite uncomfortable when their periods come visiting each month. They wait patiently for the last drop of blood each month and eagerly anticipate returning to their “normal” life. The uncomfortable feeling most women have is not just the blood flowing out of them, but the symptoms that accompany their menstrual cycle. Rather than tow the usual path, this article contains 10 unknown menopause symptoms to note.
Good enough, the menstrual cycle will not last for the entirety of a woman’s life. It gets to a stage where the blood stops flowing, and this is for good! You won’t get to menstruate every month again as you used to when you attained puberty. That stage is called menopause!
What is menopause? What causes menopause? How can you identify the common symptoms associated with menopause? Are there symptoms that are unknown? You’ll find answers to these questions as you read through this article.
Don’t stop reading.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is that period of time when a woman comes to the end of her menstrual cycles. Medically, menopause is defined as when you go twelve months without seeing your period. It also refers to the series of changes a woman goes through just before or after she stops seeing her period. When a woman attains menopause, she has come to the end of her reproductive years.
What Causes Menopause?
When a woman is born, she is born with all of her eggs (ova) which are stored in her ovaries. The ovaries produce the hormones, estrogen, and progesterone. These hormones control the release of eggs, which results in ovulation and the period, known as menstruation. When a woman is no longer releasing eggs every month or has released all the eggs she has, she is said to have attained menopause.
Menopause happens as a normal aging process of a woman. Most women reach menopause after the age of 40, but some women reach menopause earlier than expected. This is called premature menopause and may be due to factors such as surgeries as in cases of hysterectomy or damage to the ovaries during other surgical procedures. The adverse effect of chemotherapy can also cause damage to the ovaries. Trauma to the ovaries is also a possible factor.
Furthermore, menopause can come with some really obvious signs like fibroids, breast pain, or even abdominal pain.
Common Menopause Symptoms
Some common symptoms of menopause include:
- Missed or uneven periods
- Hot flashes
- Sore breasts
- Dryness of the vagina
- Increased frequency of urination
- Emotional changes
- Unending fatigue
- Change in libido
- Increase in body weight
10 Unknown Menopause Symptoms
Despite the common symptoms of menopause listed above, there are still some symptoms that are unknown – when you experienced them, you most likely didn’t know that it was menopause knocking.
Your body begins to undergo some changes in preparation for menopause years before you actually attain menopause. This period is known as perimenopause. At this time, periods become irregular and some other emotional and physical changes step in.
Some of the less-known symptoms of menopause include:
1. Vaginal pain
One of the common symptoms of menopause is vaginal dryness, but a less common or rather unknown one is vaginal pain. During menopause, the reduced level of estrogen can cause the vagina and tissue of the vulva to become thin and more susceptible to irritation and inflammation. This can lead to tearing and bleeding during sexual intercourse, causing pain and increasing the risk of infection.
2. Metallic taste in the mouth
This symptom is very rare, but some women still experience it. When this occurs, foods have different tastes in your mouth due to the varying level of estrogen in your body and this may leave a metallic taste in the mouth. Also, due to the hormone imbalance, your taste bud may become more sensitive to pain so a person may have burning or painful sensation in the tongue, lips, gums or other parts of the mouth.
This is one of the unknown symptoms of menopause. Many women who have reached menopause have trouble sleeping. It is caused as a result of low levels of estrogen, hence, the temperature control in the brain has problems functioning. This can lead to episodes of hot flashes and then being unable to go back to sleep again.
4. Memory and cognitive issues
Menopause has some effect on language skills and some other functions related to memory. As the level of estrogen in your body decreases due to menopause, you may have difficulty remembering new information or retrieving the old ones you already have.
This issue with memory may also be a result of insomnia that often accompanies menopause. It can be quite difficult to concentrate when you’re tired and stressed out. Some women may also find it difficult to perform some cognitive functions such as making decisions, paying attention, problem-solving and abstract thinking.
During pregnancy, this particular symptom is referred to as a pregnancy brain.
5. Body odor
When the level of estrogen in the body drops, the hypothalamus gets the information that you’re overheated and this causes you to sweat profusely. This can result in an unpleasant body odor. You can prevent this by following a healthy diet and using a stronger deodorant with an antiperspirant.
6. Loss of breast fullness
Due to the changing estrogen levels, you may notice that your breasts are no longer as full as they used to be or that your bras seem to be a bit looser.
Read this article to know all about breast tenderness during menopause
7. Dry and itchy skin
Estrogen is needed for skin elasticity. Now that your ovaries are not producing as much estrogen during menopause as before, what happens? Your skin begins to feel dry, tight, and itchy. This is more obvious at night when you’re sleeping. You can prevent this by using thicker and greasier moisturizer.
8. Dry and brittle nails
Once you reach menopause, you may notice that your nails seem to be drier and more brittle than before. This is because the low level of estrogen in your body system makes it a little more difficult for your skin to retain moisture.
9. Feeling of light-headedness
This is not a popular symptom of menopause, however, it may occur when the hormone levels in the body drop. It can come and go at any time and may be associated with dizziness, nausea, spinning, or a woozy feeling.
10. Thin hair
As you go through menopause, it is possible that your hair gets thinner. This is also attributable to your estrogen level dropping. Also, since your skin becomes drier due to the same reason, your scalp may also be dry too.
Here’s the fact: It is not all bad news.
The truth is, many women around the world feel the same way you do right now. In fact, you won’t be wrong to blame most symptoms associated with menopause on the low level of estrogen in the body. These symptoms can be managed appropriately when you consult your health care provider.
Yisma, E., Eshetu, N., Ly, S. et al. Prevalence and severity of menopause symptoms among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 30-49 years in Gulele sub-city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. BMC Women’s Health 17, 124 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-017-0484-x
Jennifer Whiteley, Marco daCosta DiBonaventura, Jan-Samuel Wagner, Jose Alvir, and Sonali Shah. The Impact of Menopausal Symptoms on Quality of Life, Productivity, and Economic Outcomes. Journal of Women’s Health, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Nov; 22(11): 983–990. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820128/#__ffn_sectitle2013