Menopause Experts Private GP Harley Street

Menopause Symptoms

The perimenopause and menopause are a significant time of transition in a woman’s life when declining hormone levels can cause several physical and mental symptoms. Everyone experiences this time differently and some women are not affected by the changes, whereas others find they can have a debilitating effect on their enjoyment of life.

The menopause occurs when your ovaries stop producing eggs due to declining oestrogen and progesterone levels. Officially, you have reached the menopause when you have gone through 12 months consecutively without experiencing a period, and the average age for women in the UK is 51.

However, women can often experience the symptoms of the menopause for many years beforehand, ranging from very mild to severe and affecting both physical health and mental wellbeing.

It’s estimated that probably 25 to 30% of menopausal women experience symptoms that have an adverse impact on their quality of life, affecting their physical and mental wellbeing, their relationships and even their working lives. One survey found that 59% of women stated that the menopause had a negative impact on their performance at work.

Alongside the more common menopausal symptoms, you may also experience include headaches and migraines, joint and muscle pain, breast tenderness or pain, skin sensitivity, changes in bladder function, heart palpitations, and increased risk of osteoporosis.

Common Menopausal Symptoms

Also called hot flashes, this is one of the most common menopausal symptoms, and women can experience multiple hot flushes daily. It presents an intense feeling of warmth spreading through the face, neck and chest, accompanied by an acceleration in your heartbeat. Physically, you may also have a flushed appearance with red, blotchy skin and perspiration. You may often experience anxiety with the onset of a hot flush.

Like a hot flush, a night sweat is a vasomotor symptom (VMS) caused by the expansion and contraction of the blood vessels. Night sweats tend to last longer, cause more sweating, and often result in trouble sleeping.

This is a common symptom of the perimenopause and menopause, as studies have shown oestrogen production is linked to levels of serotonin or the ‘happy hormone’ as well as cortisol, the stress hormone.

Changes in testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone levels affect how the brain functions and brain fog is a common menopause symptom. Women can often find it difficult to concentrate and experience increased memory loss.

Hormonal changes during the menopause can mean you’re more likely to gain weight around the abdomen. Other contributing components include lifestyle and genetic factors, as well as ageing changes.

The menopause can negatively affect the libido in several ways. Lowering the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen make it more challenging to become aroused, while less oestrogen can lead to vaginal dryness. The physical and mental menopausal changes that occur, such as insomnia and weight gain, can also decrease your desire for sex.

Low energy is a common complaint for women going through the menopause, and this can be made worse as they may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

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