3 surprising changes you can experience in perimenopause and menopause

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

23 October 2023

1. Voice changes

This is quite an interesting one. Very often, what happens is that falling oestrogen levels actually affect the elasticity and the moisture of our vocal cords and the muscles that surround the vocal cords. So, what can happen here is that your voice can become quieter and weaker, and there's a smaller range. If you're a singer, if you sing a lot in a choir or a singing group, you might find it more difficult to hit certain notes.

It can also cause fatigue of the vocal cords, which basically means that you can't talk for as long as you used to. Also, if you lose moisture, your voice can become much hoarser, so you might find that if you're doing talks like myself, you can't go as long without having to take a drink or having to just take a little bit of a rest.

For some women, progesterone and oestrogen fall, and testosterone doesn’t. If this happens, you might find that your voice goes a little bit deeper too.

You need to have a good, varied diet, including foods rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. So, that's foods such as nuts and seeds and leafy greens.

Also, drink plenty of water to tackle dryness. And it's quite interesting too. They seem to have found a link between vaginal dryness and changes in your vocal cords. Very often, these changes happen together. So, loads of water and a Sea Buckthorn oil supplement can be really, really helpful. Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they can really interfere with your hydration.

You can also be more prone to gastric reflux during perimenopause and menopause. Gastric reflux can sometimes come right up and hit the back of the throat, which can affect your voice. So, if it has more to do with gastric reflux affecting your voice, first of all, always double-check this with your doctor, but you may also find calming stomach remedies like the herb Centaurium helpful.

The other thing to avoid is spicy foods, which can irritate the throat, and fatty, greasy foods as well. And just be aware, for some reason, if your throat gets drier, you can become more prone to sinus infections. So again, there can be a link here.

2. Breast changes

This can be quite a distressing one if you've had nicely shaped breasts and, suddenly, they are changing; the tissue, the size, and the shape of the breasts can change.

You might find that they shrink, you go down a few sizes, and they might start to sag a little bit, and you might need more uplifting bras.

For some women, depending on the way their hormones change, they might find that their breasts become much bigger and much heavier.

Obviously, any kind of sudden breast change, please, please, please don't hesitate to get this checked out by your doctor first.

Another thing that may be helpful is to stay hydrated, because dehydration can affect breast tissue. So again, just make sure you're drinking plenty of water. Some people find an evening primrose oil supplement can be helpful too.

The other thing, and I've looked at this before, is, "Are you wearing the right size bra?" because many of us are not. It's really important if your breasts start to change and you get the all-clear from your doctor, then go to one of the large department stores, and get your bra size checked properly. A decent, properly-fitting bra can make a huge amount of difference.

3. Hair changes

You could be losing hair in some places and gaining it in other places. You might find that your hair gets thinner, and you start losing more of it. You might find that it gets very fragile. It breaks. You get split ends quite a lot. These issues are nearly always to do with your oestrogen levels falling.

If you find that you're losing your eyebrows and eyelashes, that is a really classic symptom of an underactive thyroid, so get that one checked by your doctor because a lot of the other remedies for normal hair loss are not going to help with this particular one.

You may also find that you're losing hair under your arms. It's great that you don't have to shave as much. You might also find that you lose hair on your legs. Pubic hair can often decrease quite dramatically as well.

While you are losing hair in these places, you can start growing it in other places. You sometimes find you get hair on your chin. You might get more nasal hair. Some women find that they get a line of hair right down the front of the abdomen, or you may find you start to grow a few hairs around your nipples as well. Hair around the nipples, again, I would just get that one checked out first of all, although it's really, really common.

In order to keep your hair healthy, just remember, all these hormonal changes, all these physical changes require lots of good nutrition. If you're not getting enough protein or if you're not getting enough things like calcium and zinc in your diet, then your body is going to use the little that you give it to keep the vital functions working, and your hair, your nails, and your skin are going to be the first things to suffer.

So, it's a really good clue that if your hair quality is decreasing, then you very often need to increase your nutrient intake. You can get special hair supplements from your local health food shop and some pharmacies. They are a combination of all the good nutrients that are needed for healthy hair growth, so they can be quite a good idea to take as a prevention, as well as if a problem occurs.

If you think you're not getting enough protein, I would add in a plant-based protein powder and have that as a drink once a day, and that will give you lots of goodies to help with your hair.

So, I hope you found this helpful. They do seem to be quite common at the minute, so if you are suffering from a strange symptom and you wonder whether it's linked to menopause or not, don't hesitate to comment below or ask a question privately.

And until next time, take care and have a wonderful week.

You may also find these topics helpful:

Other menopausal hair issues that might surprise you

5 other breast changes during menopause

Mouth symptoms of perimenopause and menopause


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  • Emer brennan 's photo avatar
    Emer brennan — 27.10.2023 06:25
    Can I take devil's claw with HRT I am in agony with hips and back pain


    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen —
      Hi Emer Yes, there are no contraindications


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