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.
Next page: More information on menopause symptoms including irregular heartbeat and osteoporosis, and how to determine a menopause diagnosis.