3 Unexpected Symptoms of Menopause
The effects of menopause never seem to end.
And while you knew about the hot flashes, the nights of restlessness, and even the mood swings, maybe you weren’t expecting the other 30 plus symptoms of aging as a woman.
Maybe your mom or grandmother forgot to mention migraines and hair loss. Or, you’re the only one in the family who got lucky enough to experience itchy, crawling skin.
Of course, even then, you’re not alone. Women have been conquering menopause for much longer than men have been conquering the world.
But, if you feel a little left in the dark about what’s to come, here’s some quick information about three symptoms of menopause our patients often don’t expect.
Your legs feel like overcooked pasta noodles–weak and unsteady. Your head is foggy, you can’t walk in a straight line, and your vision is blurry. Sound familiar?
Dizziness, while unexpected, is not an uncommon symptom of perimenopause and menopause. The episodes may only last a few seconds, but the sudden feelings of whirling and twirling can ruin your whole day. In fact, many women suffer from this symptom so frequently that they avoid leaving the house altogether.
The cause for dizziness or lightheadedness during menopause is often hormone fluctuations. For example, estrogen affects the nerves, and when your body isn’t producing enough estrogen, you can feel “frayed” at the edges. Plus, if the amount of estrogen supplied to the brain has decreased; you can feel dizzy or lightheaded.
But, hot flashes, migraines, fatigue, anxiety disorders, dehydrations, low blood sugar, and heart problems are also common causes. If you’re experiencing dizziness, tingling sensations, or clumsiness, first visit your doctor to rule out more serious conditions.
Lifestyle changes can help, but to treat the root cause, you may want to consider a hormone replacement therapy plan. In the meantime, a few changes you can make include staying hydrated and eating 5 to 6 meals per day to control your blood sugar levels.
Avoid standing up too quickly, and if you feel dizzy, sit down and breathe deeply and slowly. If you’re tired, try walking around the block instead of sitting in front of the TV or drinking another cup of coffee.
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. But, many women don’t know that you may also experience cold flashes.
A cold flash is a sudden feeling of intense cold, usually along with shivers. Despite several blankets and a hot toddy, you may feel like you’ll never be warm again. But, it’s all in your head–or brain at least.
Your brain monitors and regulates the body’s temperature. And when something, like menopause or a decrease in estrogen, throws it off balance, chemicals will travel through the bloodstream causing the brain to raise the normal temperature set point. To help your body’s temperature rise, you may feel cold or shiver.
A cold flash can last a few minutes or a few hours. And, sometimes, it may be followed by a hot flash—lovely, right?
Regular exercise, hormone replacement therapy, and phytoestrogenic foods (soybean and flaxseed) can help you manage these symptoms.
Are you constantly reaching for your water bottle? Feel like your throat is drier than your daughter’s turkey at last Thanksgiving (it was a valiant effort though)?
Dry mouth and a lack of saliva are two other unexpected, and unwanted, symptoms of menopause. And, no surprise, it’s linked to a drop in estrogen and progesterone. The fluctuating levels of these hormones affect your salivary glands, leaving your mouth feeling dry and sticky.
Saliva is a natural cleansing agent. It controls bacteria and protects your teeth against plaque buildup. So, when you don’t have enough saliva, bacteria thrive. Along with dry mouth, you may also experience bad breath and your risk for tooth decay and other mouth infections increases.
As always, check with your doctor first. Then, try cutting back on caffeine, taking care of your mouth, and consider investing in a humidifier. Of course, this is only the tip of the menopause iceberg. You may experience a range of symptoms or no symptoms of all.
If you’re in perimenopause or menopause and something doesn’t seem right, book a private consultation and we will help guide you through this stage in your life with a little grace and peace.