Health Library

Symptoms of Menopause

Irregular Periods and Irregular OvulationHot FlashesVaginal and Bladder ProblemsChanges in SexualityFatigue and Sleep ProblemsMood ChangesVisible Changes in Your BodyOther Potential Symptoms

Each woman experiences menopause differently. Some women have many symptoms and others have a few. Changing levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause this variety of symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Shorter or longer cycles
  • Heavier or lighter bleeding
  • Spotting in between periods
  • Reduced fertility
  • Reported in up to 75% of American women
  • Sudden onset of a feeling of heat
  • Flushed face and neck
  • Last 30 seconds to five minutes
  • Occur at any time
  • Usually stop within a few years after menopause
  • Skin in genital area becomes drier and thinner
  • Sexual intercourse may become painful
  • Vaginal dryness and burning
  • Urinary tract problems may occur, such as infection and incontinence
  • Attitude toward sex may change
  • Diminished interest in sex
  • Arousal and comfort may be difficult
  • Freedom from concerns about pregnancy (but should use birth control until one year after last period)
  • Risk of sexually transmitted diseases remains
  • Normal sleep patterns may be interrupted
  • Early morning waking
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress and change in family dynamics may contribute to mood problems
  • Thickening at the waist
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increase in fat
  • Loss of elasticity in the skin
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle stiffness or pain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thinning of scalp hair; more prominent facial hair

References

Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 15, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2013.

Menopause. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq047.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130416T1306377302. Accessed April 18, 2013.

Menopause symptom relief and treatments. US Department of Health and Human Services Women's Health website. Available at: http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/symptom-relief-treatment/index.html. Updated September 29, 2010. Accessed April 18, 2013.