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Symptoms of Menopause

En Español (Spanish Version)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With Menopause | Resource Guide

Each woman experiences menopause differently. Some women have many symptoms and others have a few. Changing levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause this variety of symptoms.

Symptoms include:

Irregular Periods and Irregular Ovulation

  • Shorter or longer cycles
  • Heavier or lighter bleeding
  • Spotting in between periods
  • Reduced fertility

Hot Flashes

  • Reported in up to 75% of American women
  • Sudden onset of a feeling of heat
  • Flushed face and neck
  • Last 30 seconds to five minutes
  • Occur at any time
  • Usually stop within a few years after menopause

Vaginal and Bladder Problems

  • Skin in genital area becomes drier and thinner
  • Sexual intercourse may become painful
  • Vaginal dryness and burning
  • Urinary tract problems may occur, such as infection and incontinence

Changes in Sexuality

  • Attitude toward sex may change
  • Diminished interest in sex
  • Arousal and comfort may be difficult
  • Freedom from concerns about pregnancy (but should use birth control until one year after last period)
  • Risk of sexually transmitted diseases remains

Fatigue and Sleep Problems

  • Normal sleep patterns may be interrupted
  • Early morning waking

Mood Changes

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress and change in family dynamics may contribute to mood problems

Visible Changes in Your Body

  • Thickening at the waist
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increase in fat
  • Loss of elasticity in the skin

Other Potential Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle stiffness or pain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thinning of scalp hair; more prominent facial hair
 

References:

  • Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 15, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2013.
  • Menopause. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq047.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130416T1306377302. Accessed April 18, 2013.
  • Menopause symptom relief and treatments. US Department of Health and Human Services Women's Health website. Available at: http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/symptom-relief-treatment/index.html. Updated September 29, 2010. Accessed April 18, 2013.

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