25 Weird Symptoms of Perimenopause You May Not Have Heard Of
We have extensively covered the most common symptoms of Perimenopause, but there are also many unusual or weird symptoms of perimenopause you may not have heard of before.
Many of these weird symptoms will require medical investigation to ensure there isn't something more serious going on. Any 'weird' symptoms should always be checked out by your Doctor.
So here are 25 weird symptoms of Perimenopause you may not have heard of!
1. Ringing in the Ears (Tinnitus)
Although not medically proven, it is theorized that tinnitus (or ringing in the ears) during Perimenopause may be caused by hormonal changes. Estrogen is known to affect the auditory system as it maintains the auditory pathways in the brain.
Although it is a weird symptom of perimenopause, it isn't uncommon and can be treated with Hormone Replacement Therapy.
2. Unexplained Bruising On the Upper Arms and Legs
Many women on Hormone Replacement Therapy report that they have unexplained bruising on their bodies, especially on the upper arms and thighs. This may be caused by 'brain fogginess' caused by the decline in estrogen, making women more likely to be clumsy, or it could just be because as we age, our skin naturally becomes 'thinner' and more fragile and so we bruise more easily.
There are many serious medical conditions such as cancer or liver disease that can cause bruising, so always have this symptom checked out by medical professionals.
3. Persistent Heartburn and Reflux
Hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause could potentially impact the digestive system. For instance, estrogen affects the stress hormone cortisol. When estrogen levels drop, cortisol might rise, which can lead to increased stomach acid production and potential heartburn. Another reason for heartburn during perimenopause is weight gain. Most women put on a bit of weight going into perimenopause which can put pressure on the stomach and cause reflux and heartburn.
Other reasons for persistent heartburn in perimenopause includes:
There are many ways to alleviate heartburn and reflux during Perimenopause including:
Eating smaller, more frequent meals to reduce the pressure on the stomach
Avoid lying down right after eating so that your food has a chance to digest.
Elevate your bed slightly so that your head is above your stomach - this prevent stomach acid from flowing into your esophagus whilst you sleep. A wedge pillow is a perfect solution.
Try and over-the-counter antacid.
If symptoms persist, please check it out with your Doctor. There are medical options to assist with persistent heartburn.
4. Bleeding Gums
There are quite a few reasons why bleeding gums and menopause go hand in hand. Hormonal fluctuations can impact the health of your gums, including causing periodontitis (gum disease), dry mouth which is also known a 'Menopausal Gingivostomatitis' and osteoporosis which can affect the jawbone and teeth loss.
Ensure you keep up good oral hygiene (including an antiseptic mouthwash) and ensure you get regular dental checkups.
What is Menopausal Gingivostomatitis?
Menopausal Gingivostomatitis is a condition that causes gums to become inflamed. It is identified by shiny, pale to red gums that bleed very easily. Menopausal Gingivostomatitis is easily treated with medication from your Dentist.
5. Tingling in the Fingers and Toes
Known as 'Paresthesia', tingling or 'pins and needles' in the extremities can be caused by the hormonal changes during menopause. This symptom should always be checked by your Doctor to rule out any heart issues.
6. Dry Eyes
Hormonal changes during menopause can influence eye health. The sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, play a significant role in regulating the tear function. As the levels of these hormones fluctuate and generally decrease during menopause, it can lead to a decrease in tear production or an increase in tear evaporation, resulting in dry eyes.
Dry eyes are easily treated - over the counter moisturizing eye drops can help instantly relieve dry eyes. Using a humidifier at home or in the office can also help by adding moisture to the air.
7. Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is another weird symptom of perimenopause. Hormonal fluctuations can contribute to breathlessness, with estrogen having an effect on the lung function.
Other common causes of shortness of breath include:
Weight gain can put pressure on the lungs causing shortness of breath.
Hot flushes can increase the heart rate and cause shortness of breath
However, shortness of breath can be a symptom of serious health issues, such as heart disease, lung disease, or even a blood clot, so it is very important to consult with a healthcare provider if you're experiencing new or worsening shortness of breath, particularly if it's accompanied by other concerning symptoms like chest pain, fainting, severe fatigue, or if it gets worse with physical activity. Your doctor can help determine whether it's related to menopause or if it's a sign of another underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.
8. Rectal Bleeding
Rectal bleeding is not typically associated with menopause and should always be evaluated by a doctor. Although menopause itself does not cause rectal bleeding, women of menopausal age may be at an increased risk of certain conditions that can cause rectal bleeding. These conditions include:
Hemorrhoids: These are swollen blood vessels in the rectum or anus that can be very painful and may bleed. Straining during bowel movements, constipation, and sitting for prolonged periods can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids.
Anal Fissures: These are small tears in the lining of the anus, often caused by constipation or passing a large or hard stool. Anal fissures can cause bleeding and pain during bowel movements.
Diverticular Disease: This condition involves small pouches that develop in the colon wall. If these pouches become inflamed or infected (a condition known as diverticulitis), it can cause abdominal pain, fever, and sometimes rectal bleeding.
Colorectal Cancer: Although less common, rectal bleeding can be a symptom of colorectal cancer. Other symptoms can include changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss. The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age.
Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Conditions such as gastric ulcers, gastritis, or vascular lesions can also lead to rectal bleeding.
9. Vaginal Bleeding After Sex
Vaginal bleeding after sex, also known as 'postcoital bleeding', can sometimes occur during perimenopause and should always be evaluated by a Doctor. The most common cause is the thinning and drying of the vaginal tissue due to decreased estrogen levels, a condition known as atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy. This can cause the vaginal tissue to become more susceptible to irritation or injury, including during sexual activity.
However, postmenopausal vaginal bleeding, including bleeding after sex, can sometimes be a sign of more serious conditions, including:
Endometrial Hyperplasia: This condition involves an overgrowth of the lining of the uterus, which can sometimes lead to bleeding.
Endometrial or Uterine Polyps: These are growths in the lining of the uterus, which can cause bleeding.
Cervical or Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer: Postmenopausal bleeding can be a symptom of these types of cancer.
Cervical Ectropion (Erosion): This condition, in which the cells lining the inside of the cervical canal spread to the outer surface of your cervix, can cause bleeding after sexual intercourse.
Infections: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other types of vaginal infections can sometimes cause bleeding after sex.
Trauma: Any trauma to the vaginal area, including from sexual intercourse, can cause bleeding.
Always use a water-based lubricant during sex and report any bleeding to your Doctor for investigation.
10. Chin and Breast Whiskers
Once a woman hits her mid to late 30's, there is a good chance she may get a whisker or two on the chin, or the top of the areola on the breast. Chin and Breast Whiskers are extremely common, albeit a tad embarrassing. During menopause, the levels of estrogen in the body decrease. At the same time, levels of androgens, or male hormones, that all women naturally have, remain the same. This shift in the hormone balance can result in some male-pattern hair growth, such as coarser hair on the chin or upper lip and breast whiskers.
These whiskers are easily removed via shaving, plucking, waxing or electrolysis.
Remember, whilst this hair growth during menopause is typically harmless, if you notice sudden or extreme changes, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or an adrenal gland disorder. Always consult your doctor if you have concerns.
11. Hormonal Body Odour
Menopause and the hormonal changes it brings can indeed influence body odour. This can be surprising and distressing for some women, but it's not uncommon.
Estrogen levels fluctuate during perimenopause and decline significantly after menopause. These hormonal shifts can impact various bodily functions, including sweat production. The sweat glands are responsive to hormones, and changes in their function can alter the amount and composition of sweat, potentially leading to changes in body odour.
What to do about Hormonal Body Odour:
Use a antibacterial body wash in the shower such as Dettol Profresh
Shower twice per day.
Invest in a good antiperspirant and use it morning and night
Change your clothing often.
Wear natural fibres such as bamboo or cotton which breath and wick away the sweat
12. Cold Flushes
Cold flushes are a less common symptom of menopause, but they can occur and are just as valid as the more widely recognized hot flushes.
A cold flush, also known as a cold flash, is a sudden feeling of cold, often accompanied by pale skin pallor and goosebumps. It might also be followed or preceded by a hot flush.
Just as with hot flushes, cold flushes during menopause are thought to be caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen, which affect the body's temperature regulation. This is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain, often referred to as the body's "thermostat." Changes in estrogen levels can confuse the hypothalamus, causing it to incorrectly sense that the body is too hot or too cold, leading to hot or cold flashes, respectively.
Cold flushes can be treated naturally by:
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
But they can also be treated with Hormone Replacement Therapy.
13. Change in Taste
Estrogen receptors are found throughout the body, including the mouth and taste buds, so changes in estrogen levels could potentially impact your sense of taste. While it's less commonly reported than symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, or changes in menstrual cycles, some women might notice differences in their sense of taste, such as:
Experiencing a metallic taste in the mouth
Foods tasting bland or different than usual
Changes in the perception of the four basic tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, and salty)
If you're noticing significant changes in your sense of taste, it's a good idea to consult with your Doctor to rule out other potential causes and to discuss any concerns you might have.
14. Burning Mouth
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a condition that causes a burning sensation in the mouth that may occur every day for months or longer. While it's not explicitly tied to perimenopause or menopause, it is more common in women around the age of menopause.
It's thought that the hormonal changes occurring during this time may be a contributing factor to burning mouth syndrome, potentially due to declining levels of estrogen affecting the nerves in the mouth.
Treatment for Burning Mouth Syndrome can include Hormone Replacement Therapy, mouth moisurisers or medications that are used to relieve pain from nerve damage.
15. Urinary Incontinenance
Urinary incontinence, which is the loss of bladder control, is a common issue for women during the perimenopausal and postmenopausal phases. This can manifest as stress incontinence (leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exercise) or urge incontinence (a sudden, strong need to urinate immediately).
Urinary Incontinence can also be caused by weight gain, childbirth and ageing muscles.
"Flooding" is a term used to describe extremely heavy periods, and this can sometimes occur during perimenopause. The menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones, and the fluctuations in hormone levels during perimenopause can lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, including the heaviness, duration, and frequency of periods.
During perimenopause, the body may occasionally release multiple eggs, leading to higher levels of estrogen and potentially heavier periods. In other cases, anovulatory cycles (cycles in which no egg is released) can lead to a buildup of the uterine lining and heavier bleeding when menstruation occurs.
The periods of extremely heavy bleeding may be accompanied by large blood clots and can result in soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours. This can be alarming and may significantly disrupt daily activities.
Flooding can also lead to iron-deficiency anemia if the body loses more iron during heavy periods than the diet can replace. Symptoms of anemia can include tiredness, shortness of breath, pale skin, and a rapid heartbeat.
17. Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations are feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, beating too fast or pumping harder than usual. The exact cause of heart palpitations during menopause isn't completely understood, but it's believed to be linked to the fluctuating hormone levels during this time, particularly estrogen and progesterone, which can have a direct effect on the heart and blood vessels.
In addition, menopausal symptoms like hot flushes or anxiety can also trigger heart palpitations. For example, hot flushes can cause a sudden increase in heart rate, and anxiety can cause the body to release adrenaline, both of which can lead to heart palpitations.
However, it's important to note that while heart palpitations can be a common and typically harmless symptom of menopause, they can also be a sign of an underlying heart condition. If you experience frequent heart palpitations, or if they are accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or severe fatigue, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Some women report a sensation of their "skin crawling" or similar sensory disturbances during perimenopause and menopause. These feelings are sometimes described as tingling, itching, or even like bugs crawling under the skin. This is often referred to as formication, and is believed to be related to the changes in hormone levels that occur during this stage of life.
The sensation of skin crawling can be particularly common during hot flushes. Hot flushes are a result of the hypothalamus (the part of the brain responsible for regulating body temperature) responding to decreasing levels of estrogen. In response, it may cause the body to suddenly feel hot, and in some women, this can also lead to sensations of prickling, tingling, or skin crawling.
In addition to the sensations themselves, these symptoms can be particularly distressing if a woman does not realize they are a normal part of the menopause transition. However, if the sensations are severe, persistent, or causing distress, it is important to discuss them with your Doctor.
19. Itchy Breasts
The skin, including the skin on the breasts, can become drier and less supple due to the decline in estrogen levels that occurs during Perimenopause. This dryness can lead to skin itching and discomfort. This is generally a normal part of the aging process and hormonal changes, but it can be annoying.
Here are a few ways to manage itchy skin and breasts during menopause:
Moisturize Your Skin Regularly: Regular use of a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free moisturiser can help soothe and hydrate dry skin.
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out.
Avoid Irritants: Some laundry detergents, body soaps, and fabric softeners can irritate the skin. Try using products labelled as "gentle" or "for sensitive skin."
Wear Breathable Clothing: Wearing loose, breathable clothing can help prevent irritation and itching.
Use a Humidifier: If you live in a dry climate, a humidifier can add moisture to the air and help prevent skin dryness.
Cool Showers: Hot water can strip the skin of natural oils, leading to dryness. Opt for warm or cool showers instead.
20. Brittle Fingernails and Toenails
Estrogen has a positive effect on the growth and strength of the nails, so when levels decline during perimenopause and menopause, it's common for women to notice changes in their nails. The nails might become more brittle, which means they can easily become dry, peel, crack, or break.
There are a few strategies that you can use to combat brittle nails:
Keep Nails Hydrated: Use a moisturizer on your nails and cuticles to help prevent dryness and cracking. This is particularly important in dry or cold weather.
Use Gentle Products: Harsh chemicals can strip your nails of natural oils. Consider using gentle, non-acetone nail polish remover, and wear gloves when using cleaning products.
Maintain a Healthy Diet: A balanced diet can help ensure you're getting necessary nutrients for nail health. Incorporating foods rich in biotin (like eggs, almonds, and sweet potatoes), omega-3 fatty acids (like fish and walnuts), and protein can be beneficial.
Avoid Over-Manicuring: Excessive filing can thin the nails, making them more prone to splitting or breaking. Similarly, the use of gel or acrylic nails can damage the nail bed if used continuously.
Vertigo is a sensation of feeling off balance, often described as a spinning sensation or feeling like the world around you is spinning.
The exact reason why vertigo can occur during perimenopause isn't fully understood, but it's believed to be related to the fluctuating and decreasing levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone during this time. These hormones have an effect on the nervous system, which includes the structures in the body responsible for balance.
Always have dizziness or vertigo checked out by your Doctor to rule out any serious health concerns.
22. Panic Attacks
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear or anxiety that triggers severe physical reactions, even though there is no real danger or apparent cause. Symptoms can include a rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, a feeling of choking, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, and a fear of losing control or dying.
The drop in estrogen levels that happens during perimenopause can have an impact on the brain's regulation of mood and emotions. This can make women more susceptible to anxiety and panic attacks during this time. Additionally, other symptoms of perimenopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances can contribute to feelings of anxiety and panic.
However, it's also important to note that anxiety and panic attacks are complex conditions that can be influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
If you're experiencing panic attacks, it's important to seek help from a healthcare professional. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes, and medications are all potential treatment options. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may also be considered to help manage severe symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, including anxiety and panic attacks.
23. Increased Allergies
Hormonal changes that occur during this time can have various effects on the immune system, which might make some women more sensitive to allergens.
Estrogen influences the body's levels of histamine, the substance that your body makes during an allergic reaction. Fluctuations in estrogen levels might therefore affect how your body responds to histamines, potentially intensifying allergy symptoms.
Further, the stress and fatigue many women experience during perimenopause and menopause can exacerbate the body's inflammatory responses, which can in turn worsen allergy symptoms.
However, while hormonal changes can potentially heighten allergies, more research is needed in this area to fully understand the connection. It's also important to note that many other factors, such as environmental changes, dietary changes, or the development of new allergies, can also contribute to an increase in allergy symptoms.
24. Electric Shock Sensation Under Skin
Electric shock sensations under the skin, often described as a sudden "zap" or "jolt" of electricity inside the body, can be surprising and uncomfortable. These electric shock sensations are sometimes referred to as "formication."
Although not entirely understood, these sensations are believed to be linked to the hormonal changes that occur during perimenopause and menopause, specifically the fluctuation and decrease in estrogen levels. Estrogen has a significant role in nervous system functioning. When levels of this hormone drop, it can affect the nerves and lead to unusual sensations like electric shocks.
Some women notice these sensations just before a hot flush, which is another common symptom of perimenopause and menopause. The electric shock sensation is often brief and may be followed by a wave of heat and sweating.
While these symptoms can be disconcerting, they are generally considered a normal part of the transition to menopause.
25. Insane Rage
It's common knowledge that perimenopause causes irritability, but that can escalate to feelings of absolute RAGE during this time.
Estrogen has an effect on the brain's regulation of mood. When estrogen levels decline, it can affect the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. This can result in mood swings, depression, and anxiety for some women. Sleep disruptions due to other symptoms of perimenopause, such as night sweats and hot flushes, can also contribute to mood changes.
It's important to note that while feelings of rage or irritability can be linked to perimenopause, they can also be influenced by other factors, such as life stress, other medical conditions, and individual personality and coping styles.
Techniques to manage stress, like regular exercise, sufficient sleep, a balanced diet, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques, can also be beneficial for managing mood swings during perimenopause. However, if feelings of rage become overwhelming or if you're experiencing thoughts of hurting yourself or others, it's essential to seek help immediately.