Almost all (94%) women going through menopause will get some menopause symptoms however in 50% of women the menopause symptoms are severe enough to affect quality of life. Common symptoms usually include:
- Hot flushes and night sweats: These are also called as vasomotor symptoms and are caused by high levels of LH (Luteinizing hormone). Declining levels of oestrogen have a stimulating effect on FSH and LH hormones that are secreted by the brain. The temperature control area of the brain is in the vicinity and hence can lead to feeling hot and getting sweats particularly at night. Hot flushes usually come on suddenly and spread throughout the body, chest, neck and face. They can last for a few minutes to much longer. Sometimes, you may get palpitations, sweating and dizziness.
- Mood swings: Not all women will get mood swings, but often there is irritability and delicate temper. This can affect your home, family as well as work life. Oestrogen is a feel good hormone and its lack can lead to lethargy, tiredness and low energy levels .
- Poor quality of sleep, tiredness and inability to concentrate: This can affect performance at work and participating in sports quite significantly. Ovaries also start producing less testosterone resulting in reduced sex drive.
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex: Vaginal lining is dependent on oestrogen and with declining ovarian function and reduced levels of oestrogen the glands stop producing mucus fluid and moistness. As a result the vaginal lining becomes dryer and delicate. This can lead to discomfort during sex and also occasional bleeding or discharge.
- Lack of libido: After menopause, ovaries stop producing testosterone (male) hormone too, which can lead to reduced sex drive.
- Joint pains, hair and skin changes: Oestrogen is important for producing lubrication in the joints and also for collagen formation. Joints may feel stiff and painful. The skin may start becoming dryer and more wrinkled. Hair may become thinner and dryer.