The loss of oestrogen (and to a lesser extent testosterone) at the menopause can lead to problems like vaginal dryness and lack of libido.
Vaginal dryness can be incredibly uncomfortable and impact on quality of life. It may include your vagina feeling sore in general or during sex, it may cause itching or an increased need to pee. It could even lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs). This can lead to general discomfort but also affect your enjoyment of sex.
As well as vaginal dryness affecting interest in sex, you may experience a drop in libido around menopause. This can be caused by changing hormone levels or your general mental well-being.
As mentioned above, a lack of oestrogen can also affect the bladder, meaning you need to go to the loo more often or increasing incidence of UTIs.
You may feel embarrassed to discuss these symptoms , but there’s no need to suffer in silence, there are treatments out there which can help.
Whether you’ve always suffered with hormonal headaches around your period, or have barely been troubled by any, menopause can either bring relief or make them worse. As with most menopausal symptoms, the way that headaches affect you during perimenopause and menopause varies from person to person.
While some women may find that their headaches ease off, others may experience more frequent or more severe headaches during this time, some people find that they get hormonal headaches for the first time. People who have always suffered from migraines may also find that these headaches get worse during menopause.
All of this is due to the fluctuations in the hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, that menopause brings.
Do you feel exhausted all day, every day? In the morning, does the thought of even getting out of bed seems impossible thanks to a complete lack of energy? Fatigue, or chronic tiredness, is one of the most debilitating symptoms of menopause and can hit without warning.
Although insomnia and interrupted sleep, which come as a result of the changes in your hormone levels during menopause, can be to blame, that’s not the whole story. What if you’re sleeping well but still feel overwhelmingly tired? The drop in oestrogen levels that comes with menopause can severely affect your energy levels. In addition, the stress and anxiety that can come with this age and the way we live, such as simultaneously caring for children and ageing parents, juggling work and family life, and the mental load can take its toll, especially if you’re not caring for yourself properly.
Women can experience irregular periods for years – anything between two and 10 – before they stop completely. However, some women find that their periods just stop after years of being regular as clockwork. Although your periods can be irregular around menopause, if you experience any spotting between periods please speak to your GP initially, they can refer you on to us if there are any issues.
Again, it’s the fluctuation and decline in the levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone during menopause that are to blame. Other factors, such as stress, can also play havoc with your natural cycle.
It can be frustrating and difficult to manage if your periods arrive unpredictably, and it can also be worrying. It may be a part of menopause and nothing to worry about, but if you are concerned, get in touch with your GP.
Underlying health factors can also be to blame, so make sure that you get yourself checked out to rule out any other causes. Remember that it is still possible to get pregnant when perimenopausal. Even if you haven’t had a period for months, they could still return so make sure that you have appropriate contraception.
We’ve all walked into a room and stood looking around, without the faintest clue as to what we went in there to do. Or stared hopelessly at the screen at work, having completely lost a train of thought. Occasional lapses in memory and a general ‘mind fog’ are frustrating but are a common symptom of perimenopause.
Oestrogen is known to have multiple effects on brain function, affecting the development and ageing of brain regions that are crucial to higher cognitive functions such as memory. It’s the fluctuation and decline in oestrogen levels caused by perimenopause that could be responsible for memory changes, difficulty thinking, and problems with concentration.
As with any symptoms of the menopause, it’s important to talk to your GP so that they can rule out any other underlying causes of your memory loss.