What are the Main Symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause?

By Christina Hanna, MPH, CHES • Published 9/22/2023

infographic of the common symptoms of menopause

As we built Versalie™, we kept hearing from our Ambassadors that one thing they wanted (and would have wanted when they started perimenopause) was a list of symptoms. While the following list isn’t fully exhaustive, we’ve included many of them. Where possible, we’ve linked you to the Symptom Guide so you can learn more about the symptom. If you’re in your mid-40s and things don’t feel quite the same, check out this list to see if it might be related to perimenopause. This can be a good list to take to your doctor to discuss what’s going on with you.

What are the common symptoms of menopause?

  • Hot flashes. Sudden feelings of intense warmth, often accompanied by sweating and a flushed face.
  • Night sweats. Excessive sweating during sleep, often leading to disruptions in sleep and waking up often throughout the night.
  • Vaginal dryness. Thinner and drier vaginal tissues, as well as reduced vaginal lubrication due to decreased estrogen levels. This can often lead to uncomfortable or painful sex.
  • Changes in libido. Decreased sex drive or changes in sexual desire.
  • Fatigue. Feelings of mental and physical exhaustion and lack of energy.
  • Trouble sleeping. Trouble falling asleep or waking up too early. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you might have trouble getting back to sleep. For some people, night sweats may also wake them up.
  • Weight gain. Hormonal changes can contribute to weight gain, particularly around in the belly area.
  • Irregular periods. Cycles that become longer or shorter. Menstrual flows that are lighter or heavier than usual. During perimenopause, these are all normal changes.
  • Mood swings. Fluctuations in mood, including irritability and hopelessness.
  • Anxious feelings. Increased feelings of worry or unease.
  • Memory issues. Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and memory lapses.
  • Brain fog. Feeling mentally unclear or forgetful.
Illustration of woman walking displaying in bubbles many symptoms of menopause

What are some other changes I might notice during menopause?

  • Hair thinning. Reduction in hair volume and thickness.
  • Brittle nails. Nails becoming more prone to breakage.
  • Skin changes. Dryness, itchiness, wrinkles, dark spots, occasional acne breakouts, and changes in skin elasticity/firmness.
  • Joint pain. An increase in joint discomfort or stiffness.
  • Bone density loss. Increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures due to decreased estrogen levels.
  • Headaches. Increased frequency or intensity of headaches, including migraines.
  • Bladder issues, including urinary incontinence. You might experience sudden urges to pee, or you might leak a little urine when you exercise, sneeze, or laugh.
  • Bloating. Abdominal bloating and discomfort.
  • Digestive issues. Changes in digestion, including upset stomach, occasional constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn.
  • Muscle pain or tension. An increase in aching and tense muscles.
  • Long-term back pain. Several other symptoms caused by hormonal changes are contributing factors to chronic back pain, including decreasing bone density and changes to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

What are some menopause symptoms that I may not have heard of?

In addition to these top symptoms, there are also some less common symptoms:

  • Allergies. Heightened sensitivity to allergens.
  • Tingling limbs. Tingling sensation that can be felt in the hands, feet, arms, and legs.
  • Burning tongue/mouth. Unexplained sensation of burning, tenderness, tingling, heat, or numbing in and around the mouth.
  • Breast tenderness. Increased sensitivity and discomfort in the breasts.
  • Changes in body odor. Alterations in body odor due to hormonal changes. You may also be sweating more due to hot flashes or increased stress and anxiety.
  • Heart palpitations. Sensation of rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • Muscle mass reduction. Loss of muscle mass and strength due to hormonal shifts.
  • Electric shocks. Some people feel sensations that feel like electric shocks

The symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can be felt from head to toe. There are hormone receptors throughout our entire body — cells that bind to hormones flowing in the blood. When hormones (mostly estrogen, in the case of perimenopause and menopause) bind to the receptors on cells throughout the body, it supports/allows certain bodily functions to occur. During perimenopause, as the body produces less estrogen, those cells throughout the body also receive less estrogen. When those cells don’t receive the amount of estrogen they’re used to, the results that we notice are the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. In addition, the loss of estrogen can increase the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

We all know that menopause is not a one-size-fits-all experience. No one experiences the same symptoms and even the ways we experience symptoms are different. Understanding what these symptoms are can help empower you to better manage your health and wellbeing during this significant life stage. Remember to talk to your doctor or a telemedicine provider if you have specific medical questions or concerns.

Last Updated 2/12/2024

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