I have been a bit out of sorts these days (actually, when I think about it, I’ve been a bit off since before Christmas last year), and I’ve put it down to the usual stress a breastfeeding mom undergoes when her little piglet is a year old and shows no signs of weaning herself. Then I came across this website and this list caught my attention. The 35 Symptoms of Menopause.
I looked long and carefully at the list and made an honest assessment of the symptoms that I have experienced.
This list of common symptoms that occur during perimenopause (the phase before menopause actually takes place) and menopause was developed from the real-life experiences of hundreds of women. All symptoms were experienced by numerous women and were either cyclical in nature, or responded to treatments (both traditional and alternative) known to address hormonal imbalances.
- Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling (see note) *check
- Irregular heart beat *Haven’t checked, so I’ll say probably not.
- Irritability *check, oh most definitely *check
- Mood swings, sudden tears *check
- Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats) *check
- Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles *check
- Loss of libido (see note) *I don’t think so 😉
- Dry vagina (see note)
- Crashing fatigue
- Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
- Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom (see note)
- Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion *check
- Disturbing memory lapses *check
- Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence (see note) *check
- Itchy, crawly skin (see note) *check
- Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons (see note) *check
- Increased tension in muscles *check
- Breast tenderness
- Headache change: increase or decrease
- Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea *check
- Sudden bouts of bloat *check
- Depression (see note)
- Exacerbation of existing conditions
- Increase in allergies
- Weight gain (see note) *check
- Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
- Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance *check
- Changes in body odor
- Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head (see note)
- Tingling in the extremities (see note) *check
- Gum problems, increased bleeding *check
- Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
- Osteoporosis (after several years)
- Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier *check
- Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, ‘whooshing,’ buzzing etc. (see note)
I just scored 18 out of 35. That’s 51.4%. Does that mean I’m perimenopausal? But wait, there’s more…
- Symptom 1 (flashes) Hot flashes are due to the hypothalamic response to declining ovarian estrogen production. The declining estrogen state induces hypophysiotropic neurons in the arcuate nucleas of the hypothalamus to release gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in a pulsatile fashion, which in turn stimulates release of luteinizing hormone (LH). Extremely high pulses of LH occur during the period of declining estrogen production. The LH has vasodilatory effects, which leads to flushing.
- Symptom 7 (loss of libido) For some women the loss is so great that they actually find sex repulsive, in much the same way as they felt before puberty. What hormones give, loss of hormones can take away.
- Symptom 8 (dry vagina) results in painful intercourse
- Symptom 11 (doom thoughts) includes thoughts of death, picturing one’s own death
- Symptom 14(incontinence) reflects a general loss of smooth muscle tone
- Symptom 15 (itchy, crawly skin) feeling of ants crawling under the skin, not just dry itchy skin
- Symptom 16 (aching sore joints) may include such problems as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Symptom 22 (depression) different from other depression, the inability to cope is overwhelming. There is a feeling of loss of self. Hormone therapy ameliorates the depression dramatically.
- Symptom 25 (weight gain) often around the waist and thighs, resulting in ‘the disappearing waistline’
- Symptom 29 (shock sensation) "the feeling of a rubber band snapping in the layer of tissue between skin and muscle. It is a precursor to a hot flash"
- Symptom 30 (tingling in extremities) can also be a symptom of B-12 deficiency, diabetes, alterations in the flexibility of blood vessels, or a depletion of potassium or calcium
- Symptom 35* (tinnitus) one of those physical conditions that seems to manifest in some women at the same time as menopause. It can be associated with health conditions such as hypothyroidism and heart disease, and is a known side-effect of many medications, including aspirin (salicylates) and Prozac.
SOME OF THE 35 SYMPTOMS MAY ALSO BE SIGNS OF THE FOLLOWING:
- depression with another etiology
- other medical conditions
Now they tell me. I think I’ll just go and pretend to have whatever other medical condition…