Surprising Perimenopause and Menopause Symtoms

10 Surprising Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms

Hot flushes, tick. Brain fog, tick. Trouble sleeping, tick. But dry eyes?! Yes, surprisingly enough, you can even blame that one on menopause. 

While there are upwards of 34 globally-recognised menopause symptoms, we’re continually discovering new symptoms linked to the hormonal changes we experience during the (peri)menopause stage.

And some of them are probably symptoms you had no idea about. Until now.


Menopause symptoms no one tells you about

In this article, we unravel ten of the lesser known perimenopause and menopause symptoms that may be contributing to your own experience. The good news is twofold. One, you’re not alone. Second, there are several treatment options, including medications, lifestyle changes, natural supplements and alternative therapies that can help alleviate these symptoms so you can focus on life and what you love doing best.

If you’re experiencing other strange sensations or concerning symptoms, we always recommend you visit your trusted women’s health practitioner. It’s best to rule out any underlying health issues first, so you and your doctor can work towards the right path to you living well.


1. Dry Eyes

    Have you noticed your eyes feel drier and more gritty lately? It can be particularly bothersome, especially if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen.  As you age, tear production naturally decreases, but estrogen also plays a role in maintaining the tear film. This mixture of water, oil and mucous is what lubricates and protects our eyes when we blink. Research also suggests that testosterone can assist in regulating this delicate balance of tear production. So the fluctuations in both hormone levels can contribute to the development of dry eyes.

    2. Cold Sweats or Cold Flushes

      Like the hot flush, cold flushes are sudden sensations – chills or shivers – that can occur out of nowhere or immediately after a hot flush. Like a hot flush, a cold flush may last seconds or several minutes. While the exact cause of these temperature fluctuations is unknown, researchers believe that changing estrogen levels impact the area of the brain called  the hypothalamus which is responsible for regulating body temperature. This internal thermostat becomes  more sensitive to small body temperature changes, causing it to “overreact” by having a cold (or hot) flush. 

      3. Heart Palpitations

        Is your heart beating faster and more erratically than usual? Do they last for a few seconds or several minutes, and do they accompany dizziness, a hot flush or loss of breath? While common in menopause and caused by changing estrogen levels impacting the electrical impulses travelling to your heart, palpitations may feel ‘serious’ and can be quite scary if you're unsure why they're happening. To rule out any cardiac issues, visiting your doctor can put you at ease.

        4. Dizziness

          Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone can influence blood vessel dilation and constriction. And when hormones fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause, it can affect the balance areas of the brain and inner ear, triggering feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness. Experts suggest there may be a link between these feelings and anxiety, another common symptom of both perimenopause and menopause. 

          5. Heartburn or Acid Reflux

            Tomatoes and red wine repeating on you? Fluctuating estrogen levels can affect the amount of acid the stomach produces, leading to heartburn or acid reflux. Additionally, stress and increased cortisol levels can impact your digestion and exacerbate symptoms. One frequently-cited and globally-renowned study of nearly 500 women found that 42% of perimenopausal women and 47% of menopausal women experienced heartburn, so you’re definitely not alone.

            6. Brittle Nails

              During menopause, your nails may become thin and soft, making them more prone to breakage. While not a serious symptom, it can cause discomfort and frustration – after all, a manicure can do wonders for our self-esteem! So why does this happen? Estrogen plays a role in producing keratin, the protein that gives nails their structure and strength. Lower estrogen levels may dehydrate your nails, making them more susceptible to splitting, cracking, or breaking.  

              7. Altered Sense of Smell

                Whether it’s a dulled sense of smell, sudden extreme aversions or a heightened sensitivity to strong scents such as cleaning products and perfumes, olfactory changes (again, thanks to hormone fluctuations) in perimenopause and menopause are common, just like in pregnancy. While it’s still being studied, some experts believe there is a correlation between starting menopause at a younger age and the severity of these symptoms, and others, that cognitive decline, which increases at menopause age, maybe a factor.

                8. Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

                  BMS is a strange but very unpleasant symptom akin to the sensation of scalding your tongue or the roof of your mouth on liquid. The reason for this is, again, estrogen – important in the healthy functioning of your bones, teeth, ligaments, and mucous membranes. Fluctuating estrogen also affects overall oral health, and for some women this can lead to gum disease, halitosis and dry mouth in menopause. Experiencing any of these? Now might be best to visit your dentist. 

                  9. Tinnitus

                    Yes, you heard that right – ear ringing! While we don't fully understand why tinnitus, or the constant humming or ringing in the ears, is prevalent during menopause, experts believe that estrogen protects auditory pathways. And when those levels change, so may our hearing.

                    10. Itchy Skin

                      Does your skin often crawl, causing you discomfort? Noticing dryness and itchy, flaky skin that doesn’t resolve itself? Falling estrogen levels during the perimenopause and menopause stage make your skin thinner, drier and even itchier through the loss of water, collagen and natural oils. It’s a very normal symptom of menopause and you can find out more in our blog about skin changes in menopause here.

                      These lesser-known symptoms of (peri)menopause highlight the wide-ranging effects of hormonal changes on our bodies. By understanding and recognising these symptoms, you can feel less alone and empowered to seek support and healthcare strategies to navigate this stage of life with greater ease.  




                      This article has been reviewed by our expert advisory team.




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