If you’re over 35, chances are you’ve experienced some of the symptoms of hormone decline. If you haven’t, then consider yourself lucky! But if you have, then you know that it can be frustrating to live with.
Sometimes the symptoms are mild—like changes to your menstrual cycle or the occasional breakout or headache—but as we get closer to menopause, we can expect more annoying symptoms. Things like hot flashes sleep problems, and vaginal dryness just isn’t fun!
But what about some of the little-known symptoms? Or the surprising symptoms that can come out of nowhere and leave us feeling broken, confused, and even fearful about our health?
In this blog post, we’ll be talking about some of the less-known signs of menopause and how to deal with these symptoms, and what you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible.
The Transition to Menopause
First things first: what exactly is a menopause transition? Menopause is a time of tremendous change in a woman’s body, so you’d be surprised by how many menopause symptoms can crop up during that time. It usually happens between the ages of 40 and 55. It’s triggered by a drop in hormones and can cause many symptoms.
Some women go through menopause suddenly, while others may experience symptoms for years before they stop having periods. The average length of time between the last period and menopause is about 2 years for those who have no symptoms at all. So, what should you look for? What should you do? And should you see a doctor about it?
Hormone decline is a natural part of aging, and it’s all too easy for women to feel like they’re losing control over their bodies as their hormones shift. But the truth is that there are many unexpected, even unusual symptoms associated with hormone decline which can be confusing and, at times, scary. They can even leave you feeling broken, confused, and fearful about your health.
It’s not always easy to deal with the symptoms of menopause. But there are some things you can do to help manage them. Here are some of the little-known, surprising, and sometimes unusual symptoms that may show up during menopause:
1. Cold Flashes
One of the most common ones is hot flashes—a sudden feeling of warmth that comes over your body and usually lasts for only a few minutes.
But what about cold flashes? They’re not as well-known, but they’re just as common as hot flashes. Cold flashes are when you feel as if someone turned down the thermostat on your body. They’re like a sudden chill in your body that happens when you feel really cold. They usually only last a few minutes, but they can still affect your sleep and leave you feeling tired in the morning.
Cold flashes are due to changing hormones, which alter your brain’s temperature regulation center in the brain, the hypothalamus.
So what causes them? Well, it’s mostly the declining estrogen that causes hot flashes—which is very similar to the reason for cold flashes. Some women also have chills that follow hot flashes or proceed with a hot flash.
If you’re struggling with hot flashes and cold flashes, it’s important to remember that it’s completely normal for your body to be going through changes. Your body is just doing what it needs to do in order to help regulate your temperature.
What You Can Do
Hormone replacement therapy can help reset that temperature regulation center in the brain and manage both hot flashes and cold flashes at the same time.
And if you find yourself shivering after a hot flash, here are some other things you can try:
- Try avoiding alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine—they’re common triggers for hot flashes and can also bring on cold ones.
- Layering your bedding—if they happen at night can be super helpful. So, you can cool down and warm up quickly as needed without having to get out from under all those covers!
2. Intense Rage and Anger
If you’re going through menopause, you’re probably feeling a lot of different emotions. You know that feeling you get when you are ready to burst? It’s like there’s a fire raging inside of you, and no matter what you do, it just won’t subside. Well, guess what? That’s not just a metaphor—it’s your hormones talking. And if you’re going through menopause, those hormones are especially loud.
And sometimes, those emotions can feel overwhelming—especially when they come on suddenly and without warning. In fact, up to 70% of women who are going through menopause will experience sudden and extreme irritability. But you may find that your mood issues go beyond being irritated And it can get so bad that it’s called “menopause rage.”
This can affect your work—and your relationships—because it’s hard to control your mood when your estrogen levels drop. This can make it difficult to keep your emotions under wraps at the office or with friends and family members.
And it’s actually not all that surprising when you think about it. Your estrogen plays a huge role in the production of serotonin—a hormone known as your happy hormone. When your estrogen levels drop during menopause, it becomes harder and harder to manage your emotions. And this can affect your work, your relationships—everything!
What You Can Do
If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, rage, or uncontrolled emotions during the menopause transition, it’s important to make sure that your hormones are balanced. Hormone replacement therapy can help with this.
However, there are many other ways to manage your stress as well. Deep breathing exercises and meditation are all good ways that can help you manage your emotions and find balance in your life.
You might also want to speak with a counselor if necessary or try some other tactics like exercise or even journaling to help clear your mind and calm yourself down when you’re feeling anxious or depressed.
If you try these techniques and they don’t work for you, be sure to talk to a doctor who specializes in hormone replacement therapy as a frontline defense before going down the path of antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.
3. Skin Crawling
What is that feeling?
You know when your skin feels like it’s crawling with bugs, and you can’t stop itching and scratching at yourself? Yeah. That’s called “skin crawling” and it’s not just a weird sensation—it’s actually a symptom of menopause.
Skin crawling is one of several menopause symptoms that can leave you feeling like you’re going crazy, especially if you’re already dealing with anxiety. Since your estrogen levels drop during menopause, so does your production of collagen and elastin, which are what keep your skin smooth and strong.
As a result, your skin becomes thinner and more sensitive to allergens like soaps or detergents. You might even find that the touch of your clothes makes you uncomfortable!
What You Can Do
In addition to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there are other ways to help control skin crawling. A moisturizer can help restore some of the moisture lost through dryness (which may contribute to the sensation).
4. Losing Hair
Hormonal hair loss is one of the most frustrating symptoms of menopause. It can be devastating to see your hair thinning as if your body is betraying you.
But it’s important to remember that this isn’t an arbitrary process: it’s all about the hormones. Unfortunately, it’s not spoken about enough.
During the menopause transition, your body starts to produce less estrogen, which can cause a lack of hair growth. Testosterone levels also drop, but not as much as estrogen levels. This causes an imbalance in hormones called Androgen Dominance. As a result, the hair follicles shrink and begin to produce thinner and weaker hair. That’s why it’s so important to maintain healthy hormone levels in order to keep your hair healthy in general.
What You Can Do
Losing hair can be helped with hormone replacement therapy alongside eating a healthy diet with lots of protein, iron, iodine, and B vitamins; taking biotin supplements, and even using natural products like coconut oil or castor oil on your scalp (which will help prevent dryness). When your hair starts to thin in particular, you need to pay special attention to these nutrients!
5. Ringing in the Ears
Did you know that ringing in the ears is a symptom of perimenopause?
If you’re experiencing ringing in the ears, don’t worry—it’s not a sign of something serious. It’s actually a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause, and it can be treated with hormone replacement therapy.
Tinnitus is a ringing or noise in your ear, but it’s actually not coming from your environment or the room that you’re in. It’s actually coming from inside your body, and this is very commonly triggered by the hormonal decline of perimenopause and menopause.
We have estrogen receptors in our cochlea, which is the part of our ear that processes sound. When these receptors are activated by estrogen, they help us hear better. But when there isn’t enough estrogen to activate them anymore, it can result in a ringing or buzzing noise in the ear. You might also have some changes to your hearing as well.
What You Can Do
There are things you can do to manage tinnitus and prevent it from getting worse: avoiding loud noises, staying away from caffeine and alcohol (which aggravate the condition), getting plenty of sleep, and doing relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga.
There’s also strong evidence that hormone replacement therapy can help with managing tinnitus—especially around the time of menopause!
6. Dry Mouth
Your mouth is a great place to start when you’re investigating the symptoms of menopause. This is because saliva plays an important role in your oral health, and it’s one of the first things to change when you experience menopause.
The most common symptom that many women experience is problems with their mouths. One of the most common causes of dry mouth in menopause is hormone fluctuation. Estrogen plays an important role in the creation of saliva. When your estrogen levels drop, saliva levels drop as well, and this can affect your mouth and your dental health.
What does this mean? Well, it means that there are two main things that can happen: dry mouth and burning mouth syndrome. Dry mouth is pretty common—most people experience it at some point or another. But it’s not just about dryness—it can also cause other symptoms like a metallic taste in your mouth and burning or tingling sensations that make eating or drinking difficult.
A dry mouth is especially common when you’re speaking a lot, but can also be caused by dehydration or anxiety. But if you have persistently dry mouth and other symptoms such as soreness or burning inside the cheeks, tongue, lips, or gums, this could be caused by menopause-related dry mouth. Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is less common but still incredibly irritating (and painful).
Between these two conditions, dry mouth is much easier to deal with—it’s just something that happens from time to time. But burning mouth syndrome isn’t something you should ignore!
That being said, dry mouth is not always caused by declining estrogen levels—it could also be caused by other conditions such as diabetes or autoimmunity.
What You Can Do
It’s important to make sure that your doctor does a full hormone workup and blood workup so they can see what the cause is. If hormonal imbalance is at play, then adding hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a great idea—but if you’re looking for other ways to cope with burning mouth syndrome, there are some self-care treatments that may help.
Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep your mouth moist and encourages saliva production, which will keep your tongue and lips from drying out too much.
Avoiding alcohol-based mouthwashes can also help alleviate dryness and pain associated with burning mouth syndrome. Even avoiding caffeine and smoking will also help prevent dry mouth because they both contribute to dehydration!
Burning mouth syndrome is linked to the hormone declines of menopause that can reduce oral microbiome diversity as well as cause nerve damage due to atrophy.
This means avoiding acidic foods and drinks will help alleviate the pain caused by burning mouth syndrome—and good dental hygiene is important for keeping bacteria out of your mouth.
If your BMS is caused by stress or anxiety, then taking steps toward reducing stress through meditation or yoga could help improve symptoms as well. Taking care of yourself, in general, is important for managing this condition.
7. Tingling and Numbness
If you’re experiencing tingling and numbness, it could be due to a drop in estrogen levels during menopause.
So, what’s happening here? You’ve probably heard of pins and needles, but did you know that it’s actually called parathesis? And it can affect any part of your body, including your hands, feet, arms, and legs.
This symptom is most common during menopause because as your estrogen levels drop, it affects your central nervous system and messages out to your limbs. This causes that numbness with a tingling sensation—which can be scary! Many people feel like they’re becoming paralyzed by this symptom and think it’s something worse than what it actually is.
But there are other possible causes of tingling and numbness as well; diabetes is one example. It’s best to get your symptoms checked out by a doctor if they aren’t going away on their own—and if they are due to hormone decline (and there aren’t any other symptoms), then you can probably talk up to hormone decline if you are in perimenopause or menopause age!
What You Can Do
If you’re experiencing tingling and numbness, try getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet to increase circulation. Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol, which may make the sensation worse.
And if you need some extra help managing your symptoms, for now, consider talking with your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Some people also report relief from tingling in their limbs with acupuncture or massage therapy.
8. Dry Eyes
If you’re noticing that your eyes are getting dry or itchy, or if they feel like they’re burning or hurting when you look at the computer screen, then it could be a symptom of menopause.
Dry eyes are a very common symptom of menopause. It’s a direct result of dropping estrogen levels, which can affect the glands that produce tears and oil in your eyelids.
This is why it’s important to treat your dry skin and dry mouth as well—even though they’re only symptoms, they can still be addressed so you have a better experience during menopause.
It’s important to note that these symptoms aren’t exclusive to menopause—they can also be caused by other factors like allergies or medications.
What You Can Do
If you’ve been experiencing dryness in your mouth, skin, or eyes, there are several things you can do to help ease the discomfort:
- Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Drinking water can help flush out toxins and keep your body hydrated more effectively than other beverages.
- Use a lip balm with SPF in it (or just sunscreen) on your lips every day. This will help protect them from sun damage while keeping them moisturized at the same time!
- Try using eye drops if your eyes feel dry or irritated—they’ll help relieve any discomfort you’re feeling so you don’t need to worry about wearing sunglasses all day long!
Coping Through Menopause Symptoms
As the years go on, your body is going to start changing. You might notice that your skin isn’t as plump or smooth as it used to be, or maybe you’re noticing some wrinkles. You might feel tired all the time and have trouble sleeping at night. And then there are the things that make it hard to function during the day: dry eyes, dry mouth, dry skin—the list goes on!
In fact, there are over 100 documented symptoms of menopause that are related to declining hormone levels. The good news is that most of them can be improved by treating the root cause: falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. And to some extent, testosterone. Click here for more information and to get your free report on these symptoms and the root cause.
So, you might be wondering: what’s the best way to manage your hormone levels?
You might be surprised to hear that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on what you’re looking to improve, and how far out of whack your hormones are.
The first step is getting a test done to test your hormone levels so that you can see where you are currently at, and which hormones are out of whack. This can be done with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
HRT can be an incredibly effective treatment for symptoms associated with menopause. It’s also an excellent strategy for protecting women against life-threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and dementia——and studies show that women who take HRT have a lowered risk of all causes of mortality!
When it comes to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there are two main types: bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones. Bioidentical hormones are exactly what they sound like: a hormone that’s identical to the one produced by your body. They’re made from plant extracts and are typically derived from yams or soybeans.
Synthetic hormones are made by pharmaceutical companies and contain chemicals that can cause serious side effects on their own—the same chemicals you’d find in many other medications like birth control pills or antidepressants.
The best part is that hormone replacement works better when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle—so if you make these changes now (or if they’ve been on your wish list for a while), you can feel even better as time goes on!
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms during menopause or perimenopause, it’s important to talk about them with your doctor as soon as possible so you can get help managing them before they become worse.
If you want to know more about managing the symptoms of menopause, I encourage you to attend my Free Masterclass: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Hormone Restoration.
In this free masterclass, we’ll cover everything from how hormones work in your body to what happens when they’re out of balance (and why). This is where you’ll learn the pros and the cons, the myths and misconceptions, and whether hormone replacement is an option for you.
You’ll also learn how to make sure that your body is getting the right hormones—in other words, bioidentical hormones—and what kind of results you can expect from hormone replacement therapy.
But before you decide whether or not HRT is right for you, it’s important to understand what it is, what the pros and cons are, and whether it’s an option for you.
As we get older, our bodies begin to change. We start to experience a decline in hormones and an increase in the symptoms of hormone decline. This is normal, but it can also cause some surprising side effects. While many of these are mild and manageable, some symptoms can be severe and even scary.
The good news is that most symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can be improved by treating the root cause—the falling levels of estrogen and progesterone.
Menopause is a transition that many women go through, but it doesn’t have to be a painful and uncomfortable process. Perimenopause has its ups and downs, but there are ways to minimize the downsides, so they don’t get in the way of enjoying this time in life. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare for menopause and manage your symptoms.