Symptoms to look out for

You would be forgiven for thinking we have only realised the wider impact of the hormonal changes in perimenopause and menopause in recent years. However, we have used the 34 item “Greene Climacteric Score” for assessing menopausal symptoms since the 1970s. So for 50 years the widespread nature of symptomology in menopause has been understood yet still poorly recognised.

We now recognise over 60 symptoms impacting every system in the body. How many do you recognise?

  • Irregular periods
  • Changes in menstrual cycle length or flow
  • Heavy or prolonged bleeding
  • Spotting between periods
  • Decreased fertility
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased lubrication during intercourse
  • Pain or discomfort during intercourse
  • Changes in libido (sex drive)
  • Difficulty feeling aroused (hypoarousal)
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Decreased stress tolerance
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Muscle aches
  • Osteoporosis (in later stages)
  • Skin dryness
  • Itchy ears
  • Dry eyes
  • Changes in skin texture or elasticity
  • Acne
  • Hair thinning or loss
  • Changes in hair growth patterns
  • Brittle nails
  • Palpitations (sensation of rapid or irregular heartbeat)
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Fluctuations in blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart disease (in later stages)
  • Bloating
  • Digestive issues (e.g., constipation, diarrhea, indigestion)
  • New dietary sensitivities e.g. gluten, dairy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Cravings
  • Reduced tolerance to alcohol or allergy to alcohol
  • Urinary frequency or urgency
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Needing to pass urine at night
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Brain fog (difficulty concentrating or remembering and word-finding)
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Tingling sensations (paraesthesia)
  • Formication – the sensation of insects beneath the skin
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Sensory sensitivities
  • Shortness of breath
  • New or worsening respiratory allergies
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Rage
  • Emotional instability
  • Loss of confidence or self-esteem
  • Changes in body image
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Restless sleep
  • Night sweats

This list demonstrates the diverse range of symptoms that women may experience during perimenopause and menopause. It’s important to note that not all women will experience all of these symptoms, and individual experiences will vary widely: no two journeys will be the same. As such, it is important not to compare your experience to those of others around you, blame yourself in any way for symptoms that are extreme or feel that there is only “one-size fits all” approach to managing symptoms. Everyone will need a unique set of tools in their toolkit and unfortunately this can often involve a large dose of trial and error to find what is right for you.