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Why Are Menopausal Symptoms So Varied?

Have you ever wondered why there are so many menopause symptoms? There are over 30 different ones, though thankfully, most women don’t experience them all. Menopause specialist Dr Bojana Dragovic explains more in this short video.

What is Menopause

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Every woman’s experience of menopause is different, but some symptoms are common to most women. Symptoms may vary in severity and duration and may be a mixture of physical and psychological:

Physical Symptoms

  • Irregular periods: One of the first signs of the onset of the menopause transition is irregular menstrual cycles. They can be longer or shorter, lighter or heavier, and can even stop suddenly with no warning. However, some women experience no change at all.
  • Vasomotor symptoms: This is the medical term for hot flushes and sweats. Many women describe these as sudden heat in the chest, neck and face, often followed by sweating; others describe a feeling of burning. 
  • Palpitations: Palpitations refer to the pounding or racing heartbeat some women feel, which can be accompanied by anxiety.
  • Headaches: New onset, or worsening of, headaches is another common symptom of menopause.

Other physical symptoms of menopause include:

  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains in joints and muscles
  • Weight gain
  • Increased abdominal fat deposition
  • Hair loss and hair thinning
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
  • Changes in libido (sex drive)
  • Bladder problems

Psychological Symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety which are common in menopause, may be worsened by disrupted sleep from night sweats causes tiredness and irritability
  • Brain fog refers to changes in cognitive function, including problems with memory and concentration
  • Loss of self-confidence and reduced self-esteem may be due to physical symptoms like weight gain, hair loss and sexual difficulty

The importance of recognising menopause symptoms early

Recognising the symptoms of menopause early is vital to understand its potential impact and take steps to review one’s health and lifestyle in order to enter this next phase of life in the best shape. 

A better understanding of menopause means the ability to make informed decisions to optimise lifestyle, and overall quality of life and, potentially, improve longevity.

Impact of menopause on long-term health 

We believe the menopause transition is a time of opportunity – if women impacted by menopause fully understand the effects of estrogen loss on their bodies in the short and longer term, they can make important decisions about whether and what treatment to seek and what changes to make to optimise their health. 

Many women are unaware of the important role that estrogen plays in the functioning of body systems, or that estrogen receptors are present on almost all cells, not just in the reproductive and genital organs, but also in the brain, cardiovascular system, bones, joints and skin, to name a few.

So it is not surprising that menopausal women experience diverse symptoms, ranging from cognitive challenges, such as brain fog, to dry eyes and heart palpitations. 

Likewise, many women do not fully appreciate the protective effects of estrogen. Prior to menopause, women have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than men, and are protected from conditions such as osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. However, this changes after menopause as estrogen levels decline, and conditions such as cardiovascular disease, for example, begin to occur as, or more, frequently than in men.

Clinical studies show that estrogen, when given as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), to women under the age of 60 or within 10 years of menopause onset, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Menopause may also be associated with an increased risk of obesity (see NICE guidelines NG23, 2015). However, HRT alone may not be sufficient to reduce these risks, so addressing lifestyle is also important, including attention to diet and exercise, as well as mental health.

Why New Woman Health?

At NewWoman Health we have a commitment to educating, advising, treating, and supporting women approaching, during, and following menopause. Our wide range of medical and lifestyle interventions helps women to manage or minimise their menopause symptoms and improve their quality (and potential longevity) of life in an aspirational and uplifting way.

If you’re concerned about your menopause transition and/ or other menopause-related problems, including treatment options, we can support you with our personalised medical consultations with menopause specialists. Take the next step in ensuring your long-term health and quality of life by booking a consultation with us today.

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You are not alone. As a local example, in Manchester over 46% of council employees are female and over 40 years old. In a CIPD survey (2019) over 30% of women said they were unable to work because of menopausal symptoms.

Only 25% said they could tell their manager the real reason for their absence. The Council account for nearly 7% of all employment in Manchester. They implemented a new Menopause policy in March 2022. CIPD survey | Manchester Council Menopause Policy | CIPD Manchester

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