If your breasts feel sore and tender, this is probably due to menopausal hormonal changes. You may benefit from wearing comfortable bras and cutting out caffeine which exacerbates swelling.
And even if you still get periods, sore breasts aren’t just going to be limited to your cycle. The severity of pain and tenderness can range from uncomfortable to extremely painful even with the simplest touch.
Talk to your doctor if breast soreness and tenderness cause you a lot of discomforts. Your doctor can recommend an OTC treatment or prescribe one to other you some relief.
Fatigue is a very common symptom of menopause and involves feelings of weakness, tiredness, and low energy. You may also experience irritability and inability to focus.
Menopausal fatigue is caused by hormone changes, especially estrogen. When estrogen drops, so does your energy.
Chronic fatigue can severely impact your life. If fatigue is affecting you at work or in your relationships, talk to your doctor about treating hormonal imbalances to restore energy levels.
Many menopausal women report unrefreshing sleep and problems falling asleep.
Research shows women start to experience sleep issues years before the onset of menopause according to the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center.
Waking up several times during the night, struggling with insomnia, or tossing and turning, could also be menopause related.
If these issues affect your focus during the day, talk to your doctor about ways to resolve and manage sleep problems.
Women who experience headaches around or during their monthly cycles will likely experience them during menopause. Headaches can also be a side effect of HRT therapy.
As your body begins to slow down its production of estrogen, your headaches will be more frequent and severe.
The good news is that once you officially reach menopause, you will stop experiencing these headaches due to lowered hormone levels.
Hair, Skin, and Nail Changes
When your estrogen levels decrease, your hair can become dry, thin, and weak and prone to split ends and breakage.
Your skin may also become dry and thin, and you might find you have sensations your skin is itchy or tingly, or you may experience a crawling feeling.
Hormonal fluctuations can also lead to brittle fingernails. Symptoms of brittle nails include:
- Changes in normal nail color
- Ridges on nails
- Peeling, cracking, curling, chipping or splitting
- White spots
- A feeling of dryness
- Dry cuticles and hangnails
Reduced levels of estrogen cause the thinning of the lining of the urethra – the short tube that allows passage of urine from the bladder to the outside of your body. The surrounding pelvic muscles will also start to weaken as you get older – a process called pelvic relaxation.
Both factors will result in urinary incontinence – involuntary urine leakage.
Small changes such as drinking less coffee, tea, sodas, and alcohol, limiting other liquids, and keeping a healthy weight can help minimize your symptoms.
Kegel exercises can help to tighten your pelvic floor. These exercises involve repeatedly tightening and releasing your pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds at a time.
Weight gain is the most frustrating part of menopause for most women especially since the weight starts to accumulate at your midsection.
Therefore, as you get older, it is important to maintain a healthier lifestyle because having more weight in your midsection puts you at risk for many serious health conditions, including heart disease.
Bloating is a very common symptom of menopause and related to the increase of intestinal gas and fluid retention caused by hormonal fluctuations. It is similar to the bloating you experience before and during your period.
Irregular Heart Beat
An irregular heartbeat is a relatively common problem in women going through menopause. The problem is related to fluctuating estrogen levels.
An irregular heartbeat is known medically as heart palpitations. It occurs when the heart beats faster than normal or more forcefully. This might give an unpleasant awareness of your heartbeat and may feel as if your heart is pounding or has skipped a beat.
While irregular heartbeat is normal during menopause, these events may alarm you. And while it is likely nothing to worry about, you should still talk to your doctor if these episodes are frequent or scary enough to cause you concern.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that weakens your bones and increases your risk of fractures.
The actual cause of it is unknown, but researchers do know there is a connection between osteoporosis and menopause.
The lack of estrogen is directly linked to a decrease in bone density, and the longer a woman is experiencing lower estrogen, the more likely her bone density will be compromised.
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for osteoporosis and potential ways to preserve bone health.
Seeing Your Doctor
You should be seeing your doctor regularly for preventative healthcare and any medical concerns. Continue going to your appointments before, during, and after menopause.
Preventative healthcare should include mammograms and breast and pelvic exams.
You should talk to your doctor about heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding that is abnormal for you, new bleeding between periods, bleeding while you are taking hormone replacement therapy, and any bleeding from your vagina after you have not had a period for at least six months.
Your doctor can also prescribe medications to help you manage some of the symptoms of menopause, including insomnia, hot flashes, mood changes, and vaginal dryness.
Don’t be embarrassed about your menopausal experiences and learn to be open to talking with your doctor about any concerns related to menopause or other health worries.