10 Unusual menopause symptoms you never knew existed.

menopause and skin menopause symptoms May 11, 2023

Have you noticed some unusual menopause symptoms on your journey from perimenopause into menopause?

Perhaps you have no idea where they've come from? 

Lots of the ladies that I work with have strange symptoms but no idea that they are also a symptom of the decline in their estrogen and progesterone. So I thought it might be helpful to list a few of these. I've got 10 of them for you. Some of them you may know about, and some of them you may think, 'Oh, that's why.' And then, if that's something that you're struggling with, you may be able to do something about it.


Menopause symptoms that everyone knows about.....

Most of us know about the common peri menopause symptoms; hot flashes and night sweats, weight gain, anxiety, brain fog or memory problems. You might even know about hair loss or hair growth, that fuzz that comes on your chin, joint pain, and palpitations. 


But did you know about some of these more weird menopause symptoms?

1) Itchy skin

Many people say to me, 'Sam, my legs are driving me up the wall. I wake up in the night, and I've scratched down my legs. I've scratched the backs of my arms.'

When you have a lack of estrogen, the amount of lubricant, it's called sebum, that you produce in your skin goes down, and as a result, we start to get really dry, itchy skin.

So just having more moisturizer around the place and taking the time to apply it on your body regularly will help. It's also important not to go onto a low fat diet, we need a diet that's high in Omega-3s and Omega-6s, be sure to include and those lovely avocados, oily fish and nuts and seeds. 


2) Bloating and digestive problems.

Women often don't correlate their increased bloating with the changes in hormones at the time of perimenopause. The gut is very sensitive to estrogen, and when that estrogen level is declining, its ability to process food in the same speed or in the same way as it used to often becomes impaired. As a result, you might wake up with a flat tummy, and by the time you go to bed, your tummy may have expanded hugely - some women actually say they look pregnant. You might notice that you're much more sensitive to some foods, making you bloated.

I recommend keeping a diary, noting the symptoms down and a record of what you ate or drank at that time. That way you can make some positive changes and monitor the difference. 


3) Breast heaviness and soreness

Do  you remember, perhaps when you were a new mum, those breast pains and heaviness? 

Well, breast tenderness can come back for some women. It's called Mastalgia. As always it's due to the fluctuations in oestrogen.

Sometimes wearing a soft bra at night can be really helpful and during the day, make sure your breasts are well supported in a bra that fits. It's important to note that any changes in your breasts such as redness, puckering of the skin, liquid from the nipple must be checked by your doctor and do be sure to keep up with having regular mammograms and self breast checking. 


4) Burning tongue syndrome

Even the tongue can notice the effects of the decline in oestrogen - resulting in the term 'fiery mouth'.

In fact, 40% of women report that they've had this burning tongue type of sensation. So, if that's you, you're not alone.

You might notice that some things make it worse, perhaps a specific food or even an emotionally stressful time. It is a good idea to keep a diary of when it flares up and note what was happening at that time, and what you ate or drank. You may begin to see a pattern and then be able to make some changes. 


5) Feeling dizzy

Funnily enough, people often don't associate dizziness with menopause - they are more lilely to jump to a conclusion thinking they have something dreadful going on. 

But having these dizzy phases can often be related to the fact that your inner ear is also sensitive to oestrogen, and when the oestrogen is going down, its ability to keep you feeling balanced, safe and stable, is impaired.

I remember years ago, when I was in my perimenopause, I was training for the London Marathon so always out running. I began to notice that I was running in wobbly lines, rather than straight ahead. It worried me so much that I took myself off to the doctor, who investigated with brain scans, but there was nothing else wrong. looking back, it was one of my earlier symptoms of perimenopause.


6) Changes in the your body odour.

Have you ever wondered why one armpit smells different from the other armpit?

Perhaps you haven't - after all, discussing our own body smells can be a wee bit embarrassing! But there are three main reasons why we might notice that we smell a bit different.

Number one - those pesky night sweats and hot flashes often mean that we're a little bit more sweaty than we used to be. Sweat may mean more odour, especially if the anti perspirant you are used to using, seems less effective than it used to be. Keeping a diary of when you sweat more can be helpful, some foods can trigger it, as can some stressful situations. I have written more about this here. 

Number two - this one is spoken about far less, and I need to talk about it because if I don't, you might think you're the only one. One in two women will struggle during menopause with incontinence, either urine or faeces. And when this happens, you may notice a smell associated with it - it's unlikely that others will notice. Incontinence is very common and there are many skilled womens health physio's who can help you if you are struggling, please do search for someone in your area. 

Number three - and finally, the pH of your vagina can change as a result of the hormone changes and this can lead to a slightly different odor. If that's something that you haven't had checked out and you want reassurance, I'd suggest your GP or a Women's Health Physio to put your mind at ease.


7) Ear and hearing changes 

Firstly, tinnitus, this constant ringing in your ears or highly sensitive hearing to things like chewing or breathing or knives and forks cutting or anything like that. For me, it's listening to Formula One on the television, racing cars going around and around, it drives me up the wall. So once again, our ears very sensitive to estrogen can have two effects, this tinnitus which often comes spontaneously and can go spontaneously and this very, very sensitive hearing. Worth getting your tinnitus checked, talked to a GP who might refer you to somebody else because there's other treatments that can be given, and very sensitive hearing earplugs at night that completely get rid of all sound if that if the snoring issue is one or perhaps having sound-reducing earplugs during the day at meal times or at certain times if that's helpful for you. 


8) Electric shocks!

Or feeling like you've got ants crawling under your skin. This was first reported to me years ago by a friend who said, "I think I've got a poltergeist, I'm sure there's somebody who tickles my back when I walk into that room." What she was noticing, this is years and years and years ago, was this ant sensation of something crawling under her skin on her back. And again, this is down to the reduction in estrogen, it's called paresthesia, and it's the little nerve endings not having as much estrogen as they used to, and that manifests itself in these electric shock sensations or this tingling sensation. You can often actually just get rid of it by rubbing opposing a different stimulation, and then it will go, but often once you know what it is, that's reassuring too because you know you're not going mad and you haven't got Poltergeist. 


9) Increase or new allergies

If you're somebody who's never had an allergic reaction, you may find that suddenly you're more sensitive to, I don't know, soap powder or some kind of perfume you put on your body or perhaps something that you eat. If you've always been an allergic sort of person, then your allergies could increase, and that's again due to us often having an accelerated histamine production due to the decline of our other hormones. 


10) Changes in your voice 

If you're not somebody who uses your voice for your business or in your day-to-day life, this may not be an issue for you, but changes in our voice such as coarseness or the pitch of your voice if you're perhaps a singer or you're a public speaker or voice fatigue if you're somebody who has to present in front of a lot of people for a long period of time, noticing the changes in your voice can be again related to your perimenopause or menopause. So my advice for you in that situation is to talk to a voice coach. It's something that I noticed again quite a few years ago when I was teaching all day to a large audience, presenting at the end of the day, my voice would be really tired. I thought it was sore, but actually, it was just that I'd been talking all day, and it got worse as I got older. 


I hope that those 10 unusual perimenopausal symptoms or menopausal symptoms have been interesting or useful for you. I hope that you haven't ticked all of them and said, "Yes, yes, yes, I've got all of those," and I hope you've given you some ideas of who you might be able to talk to for help. 

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