Is this a symptom of perimenopause or menopause?

Common, lesser-known & strange symptoms of perimenopause and menopause

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

01 July 2024

How many symptoms are there?

Some sources say there are 34 symptoms, while others say 40. I read another article somewhere that said 120. I'm just like, "Oh, no." So, let's say there are at least 34 known main menopause symptoms but, in reality, there are many more and we are constantly learning about new ways that menopause can impact you! I've been doing these blogs for a good number of years, and the symptoms that are appearing now are ones I'd certainly never heard of way back then.

You're not going to experience every single one. Just because I go through a list, don't sit there and panic and think that you're going to get everything. Most women will experience one or two, or a combination of symptoms. Some are common, but you could get some really strange ones as well.

The combination you experience can change as time goes by. As your hormone levels change, that can ease some symptoms and maybe trigger new ones or make the ones that you have worse.

But you need to be aware that hormones are not necessarily just to blame for your symptoms. This is something that happens quite a lot and isn't always very helpful because we are finding now that more and more lifestyle issues are contributing to or even causing symptoms. So, it could be things like dehydration. Stress is a huge one. It can be diet. It can be a lack of exercise and relaxation. So, all of these lifestyle things that you do regularly can impact your symptoms.

Common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause

We have 35 of the known symptoms listed in our Menopause Symptom Checker in the UK, which has collected over 70,000 responses from women checking their symptoms. Here are the top 10 most common symptoms being experienced:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Sleep problems
  3. Anxiety
  4. Hot flushes and night sweats
  5. Period changes (irregular periods, heavy periods, or prolonged bleeding.)
  6. Low mood
  7. Difficulty in concentrating, memory issues, brain fog
  8. Mood swings
  9. Weight gain
  10. Headaches (which is quite a surprising one).

So already, you can see from our top 10, there's a combination of both emotional and physical symptoms. And that in itself can just be so debilitating when you're swinging between emotional and physical issues.

Some additional commonly experienced perimenopause and menopause symptoms would be things like bloating, digestive issues, joint aches and pains, low libido, and dryness - not just vaginal dryness but dry eyes, dry mouth, and dry skin. Dryness also affects the digestive tract. It can affect the bladder. It can affect your breathing, so that's quite an impactful thing too.

Less common / Lesser-known symptoms

Some of the less common but just as troublesome perimenopause and menopause symptoms include dizziness, hair loss or hair thinning, hair changing, or hair growth slowing down. Your hair is just not growing so much. It could be that your hair has started to go curly after being lovely and straight.

It could be a weak bladder. It can be bladder infections. It can be wetting yourself if you're laughing, running, or doing exercises, so you're losing a little bit of bladder control. It can be brittle nails. It can be palpitations and your heart missing a beat, or you can just be more aware of your heartbeat at certain times. It can also be high blood pressure.

Strange and surprising symptoms

There are lots of lesser-known symptoms and strange symptoms that often come as a surprise, such as:

  • Eye problems: It can be problems with vision, so eyesight can be affected, which is not always linked to menopause.
  • Depth of perception: This can cause you to end up bumping into things and dropping things.
  • Jaw pain
  • Dental issues: It may be things like bleeding gums, which again is often not picked up as menopausal. It can be problems with your teeth, your teeth becoming loose, the health of your teeth and gums just deteriorating really quite quickly.
  • Skin issues: Things like prickly skin. It's like feeling insects running up and down the inside of your skin. It can be tingling. It can be electric shocks. It can be stabbing pains just about anywhere. It could be things like acne. You can end up getting skin conditions that you've never had, things like acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

What can help with these symptoms?

Self-care is one of the best things you can do to help yourself. From eating well and taking time for yourself to relax, to staying hydrated and getting enough sleep, there are lots of simple things you can do to help support yourself better and help your body cope with all the changes and symptoms.

So, it's about looking after yourself. And I can't stress this enough. The number of workshops that I do, and I always ask, "Where are you on your list of priorities?" And the majority of people, they are not even on their own list of priorities, never mind being at the bottom of the list that you never get to the end of. S​elf-care is vital. Putting yourself first isn't a luxury: it's absolutely essential to help you and your body cope with the whole process.

Here are a few areas of self-care to look at:

It's about eating well. Give your body the nutrients that it needs and it will thank you very, very much.

It's about water. Remember, low oestrogen levels cause dehydration just absolutely everywhere.

It’s about getting sleep, and also about keeping active. It’s really important to keep your joints, and your muscles really healthy so that you don’t end up with muscle wastage and osteoporosis.

I have done a more in-depth blog all about self-care; so, if you want to learn more about this, head over to my blog: 10 self-care tips for perimenopause, menopause & post-menopause

We also have two great products for perimenopause and menopause. If you find that your periods are still regular but you're starting to get some of the niggly symptoms, we've got our Balance Perimenopause Multi-Nutrient drink.

And for those of you whose periods are tailing off, slowing down, or have started to miss, or have stopped, we've got our Menopause Support tablets.

A.Vogel Menopause Support tablets with Soy Isoflavones, Magnesium and Hibiscus for all stages of menopause

  • Made from soya beans
  • Also contains magnesium and hibiscus
  • Support for all stages of the menopause
  • GM Free, suitable for vegans

Great product! Does what it says on the pack!” Andrea, UK

Read more customer reviews

Other causes of symptoms to be aware of

Very often, menopause gets blamed for everything. So once your periods are changing, or once your periods have stopped and things crop up, menopause gets blamed. It’s important to be aware that other health issues can creep in and cause similar symptoms. These include health issues such as vitamin D and B12 deficiency, anaemia, thyroid issues, diabetes, and heart disease. They can all cause symptoms that are absolutely identical to menopause symptoms. So, if you suddenly get a big change in symptoms, please get these checked out with your doctor, just to rule these health issues out.

Perimenopause symptoms that can be missed

On the other side of the coin, in perimenopause, very often, symptoms will start even if your periods are completely normal. In that case, the symptoms may be caused by hormonal changes but are not being picked up. The main ones that we find are things like anxiety, joint aches and pains, and digestive disorders. These often creep up during perimenopause when periods are still completely normal. And, of course, what happens then is you go to the doctor and the symptoms get treated as individual health issues when, in fact, they are due to hormonal issues. In this situation, if symptoms suddenly appear out of the blue, then maybe ask to get a hormone test to try and figure out if it's perimenopause.

So, that’s a lot to take in. As usual, if you have any queries, or if you have any issues, then please get in touch.

You may also find these topics helpful:

Emotional Menopause Symptoms: Why they can worsen or come back

5 unexpected & lesser-known menopause symptoms

5 strange menopause symptoms you might experience

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A.Vogel Menopause Support tablets with Soy Isoflavones, Magnesium and Hibiscus for all stages of menopause

30 tablets

€ 12.80

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Menopause Support can be used to help you through all stages of the menopause.
More info

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