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What Are the 34 Symptoms of Early Menopause?

Reviewed by
Date published
16/03/2022
Date last updated
01/03/2022
Length of read
7 Minutes

No matter where you are on the menopause timeline, the process can be overwhelming for many women, even though it’s a natural part of aging.

The menopause is generally experienced between the ages of 45 and 55, as this is usually the time in which a woman’s oestrogen levels begin to decline, but 1 in 100 women will experience the menopause before they are 40 years old. These are some of the most common symptoms.

1. Mood Swings

The constant fluctuation of hormone levels is very likely to cause mood swings – practising self-calming skills such as yoga or meditation may help to ease sudden mood changes.

2. Hot Flushes

Hot flushes affect approximately 75% of menopausal women. Sometimes causing visible changes to the skin such as redness on the chest, neck and face, hot flushes cause the feeling of overheating and can cause perspiration, too.

3. Vaginal Dryness

The decline of oestrogen levels throughout the menopause can in turn result in vaginal dryness. This is due to oestrogen being the hormone responsible for the natural lubrication of the vagina.

4. Depression

The change in hormones throughout the menopause can result in depression. While not every woman will experience depression, it’s important to speak to your GP for further advice and support if this is something you are experiencing.

5. Headaches

Women who experience headaches at specific points in their menstrual cycle will likely experience them throughout the menopause, too.

6. Irritability

The change in hormones will likely cause irritability, not to mention the challenge in navigating new and overwhelming symptoms that may take some time for you to adjust to.

7. Taste Disturbance

Up to 40% of women experience taste disturbances throughout the menopause, with many tasting a metallic flavour in their mouth, or having problems with their gums.

8. Joint Pain

Musculoskeletal symptoms such as joint pain can also be endured throughout the time of the menopause. However, joint pain may be a sign of a problem such as arthritis, relating to age, weight or other factors, and isn’t necessarily a symptom of the menopause.

9. Night Sweats

Night sweats are similar to hot flushes, yet they occur while you’re asleep (or trying to get to sleep). Night sweats can be particularly severe for some women, resulting in them drenching bed sheets and duvets, and causing a disturbance to sleeping patterns.

10. Irregular Periods

For many women, menstrual cycles become increasingly irregular before they stop completely.

11. Body Odour

Some women may experience body odour changes when menopausal. If this is affecting you, speak to your GP about the topical treatments available to help reduce sweat gland activity and minimise odours.

12. Decreased Libido

Due to the decrease in oestrogen levels, many women find that their sex drive can also be reduced throughout the menopause.

13. Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is the urinary incontinence that occurs when coughing, sneezing, laughing or straining, and it’s experienced by many women throughout the menopause.

14. New Allergies

Some women find that they become intolerant to certain medications, foods of other allergens when they reach the menopause, despite having never suffered from allergies before. This is due to the hormonal systems and immune systems being closely linked.

15. Bloating

Bloating may be a sign that you’re entering the stage of early menopause; however, if you think bloating may be a sign of something else, you should speak to your GP.

16. Brittle Nails

Falling oestrogen levels can cause nails to feel thin and brittle and lead them to break more easily.

17. Osteoporosis

The menopause can result in a risk of reduced bone density or osteoporosis for many women, increasing the risk of fractures and bone damage. Ensure you maintain a healthy diet with plenty of calcium to support bone health.

18. Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of the menopause, even for those not suffering from bad sleeping patterns.

19. Lack of Concentration

Oestrogen levels help to regulate the use of sugar within the brain, which means that once oestrogen levels begin to fall, sugar regulation can be disrupted. This can lead to a difficulty in concentration.

20. Anxiety

Anxiety is experienced by a third of women throughout the stages of the menopause, due to hormone changes.

21. Memory Lapses

As your hormone levels begin to fluctuate, you may find that you struggle to remember things. This is usually only a temporary change but can feel frustrating all the same.

22. Burning Mouth

The menopause can also reduce the rate of saliva production in the mouth, which can, in turn, cause a hot or burning sensation to the roof of the mouth, tongue, lips or cheeks.

23. Muscle Tension

As a result of the anxiety or stress felt throughout the menopause, tight, achy or tense muscles are also a common symptom.

24. Itching Skin

Collagen levels in our skin reduce as oestrogen levels fall, which can result in itchy, drier skin than usual. This is because collagen is a building block within our skin that ensures it’s kept plump and taut, while also being responsible for regulating how hydrated our skin cells are.

25. Hair Loss

The change in hormones throughout the menopause can lead to hair feeling and looking thinner.

26. Tingling Sensations

A reduction in oestrogen levels can lead to fluctuation or distortion to the messages along the nerve cells, resulting in a tingling sensation.

27. Weight Gain

Weight gain is experienced by many women going through the menopause, due to the change in hormones.

28. Digestive Changes

The hormonal changes incurred throughout the menopause can lead to many experiencing a change in their bowel habits. This may include cramping, bloating, indigestion, diarrhoea and constipation.

29. Irregular Heartbeat

The fall of oestrogen can also affect the circulatory and nervous systems, which for many women, can lead to palpitations or an irregular heartbeat.

30. Electric Shocks

The mixed messages in the nervous system caused by the reduction of oestrogen may also result to the feeling of an electric shock. For some women, this sensation is felt just before they experience a hot flush.

31. Insomnia

As a result of night sweats and hormonal changes, the menopause may also prevent you from getting a full night’s sleep, causing insomnia.

32. Dizziness

Dizziness and vertigo (the feeling that the room is spinning) can be symptoms of the menopause due to the fall in oestrogen levels.

33. Tender Breasts

Sore and tender breasts are a common sign of hormonal levels changing.

34. Panic Attacks

As a result of feeling anxious, panic attacks can be a symptom for many women going through the menopause. These can be frightening and overwhelming, so be sure to speak to your GP if you need more support.