Symptoms of menopause can include hot flashes, irregular periods, mood changes, night sweats, breast soreness, vaginal dryness, bloating, thinning hair, and more.

Menopause refers to the stage of a person’s life during which their period stops. It typically occurs around the age of 45–55 years. An individual has entered menopause if at least 12 months have passed since their last period.

The years leading up to menopause are called the menopausal transition, or perimenopause. This stage can also come with symptoms, which may last for several years — sometimes up to 14 years.

This article looks at the 34 symptoms of menopause and what may help.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Menopause and perimenopause can cause a range of symptoms that may vary from person to person.

1. Hot flashes

Hot flashes are among the most common symptoms of menopause. They cause someone to suddenly become hot, sweaty, and flushed, especially in the face, neck, and chest. Some people also experience chills.

2. Night sweats

Night sweats are hot flashes that occur at night. Scientists are not sure why they occur, but it appears that falling estrogen levels can affect the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature.

How to cope with hot flashes and night sweats.

3. Irregular periods

Throughout the menopausal transition, it is natural to have irregular or missed periods. Eventually, a person will stop having periods entirely.

Learn how perimenopause affects periods.

4. Mood changes

Mood changes are unpredictable shifts in mood unrelated to life events. They can cause someone to feel suddenly sad, weepy, or angry. Mood changes are common during perimenopause and menopause.

Learn more about mood changes during menopause.

5. Breast soreness

Breast tenderness is another common symptom of menopause, though its frequency tends to decrease in the later stages.

Learn more about menopause and sore breasts.

6. Decreased libido

Menopause also commonly affects libido — a person’s desire for sex. This can be the direct result of having lower levels of testosterone and estrogen, which can make physical arousal more difficult.

However, it can also be a secondary result of the other symptoms of menopause, such as mood changes or a side effect of a medication.

Learn more about menopause and libido.

7. Vaginal dryness

As female sex hormones ensure that there is adequate circulation of blood around the vagina, a lack of them can decrease blood flow and, therefore, natural lubrication. This may cause dryness, which can be uncomfortable or make penetrative sex more difficult.

Learn more about vaginal dryness.

8. Headaches

Someone entering menopause may experience more frequent headaches or migraine episodes as a result of a dip in estrogen. This can be similar to the headaches that some females experience before a period.

However, unlike during a typical menstrual cycle, hormone levels during perimenopause can fluctuate more unpredictably.

Learn more about migraine and menopause.

9. Recurring UTIs

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) become more common after menopause. This is most likely due to the drop in estrogen that occurs following menopause. This drop causes the vaginal tissues to thin, leading to dryness, irritation, and other factors that make it easier for a UTI to develop. UTIs are recurrent if a person experiences three or more in 1 year or two or more within 6 months.

A person can help prevent UTIs in the following ways:

A person can discuss treatment and prevention of UTIs with their healthcare professional.

Learn more about menopause and UTIs.

10. Burning mouth

A burning mouth is another potential symptom of menopause due to hormonal changes. It may manifest as a feeling of burning, tenderness, tingling, heat, or numbing in or around the mouth. This is another result of hormonal changes.

The mucus hormones in the mouth have sex hormone receptors, which decrease with a decline in estrogen. This can contribute to pain and discomfort.

Learn more about burning mouth syndrome.

11. Changes in taste

Some people may notice changes in their sense of taste, with stronger flavors, during menopause. They may also experience a dry mouth, which can lead to a higher risk of developing gum disease or cavities.

12. Fatigue

Fatigue can be a distressing and sometimes debilitating menopause symptom. This could be the result of lower quality sleep as a result of hot flashes and night sweats or due to hormonal fluctuations themselves.

Learn more about menopause fatigue.

13. Acne

Acne is a condition that people commonly associate with adolescence. However, a 2019 paper notes that it is a growing concern among people experiencing menopause. This is most likely due to the imbalance of hormones during and after menopause.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) states that because a person’s skin typically becomes drier and thinner, typical acne treatments can be too harsh. The AAD recommends the following ways to help treat and prevent menopausal acne:

  • Washing the face using a product that contains salicylic acid.
  • Avoiding acne products that may dry the skin.
  • Consulting a dermatologist if acne is unmanageable.

14. Other digestive changes

Female sex hormones influence the microbes a person has in their mouth and digestive tract. This can mean that during menopause, gut flora changes in composition. Individuals may notice changes in their digestion or that they react differently to certain foods.

15. Joint pain

Estrogen helps decrease inflammation and keep the joints lubricated. As a result, some people experience joint pain due to decreased estrogen.

Estrogen is responsible for regulating fluid levels throughout the body, so when the body becomes low in this hormone, females are more prone to joint aches or menopausal arthritis.

16. Muscle tension and aches

Individuals experiencing perimenopause or menopause can also develop muscle tension or aches. This is due to the same factors as menopausal joint pain.

17. Electric shock sensations

Some people can experience sensations that resemble electric shocks during perimenopause and menopause. It is not clear what causes this, but it may be the result of changing hormone levels in the nervous system.

18. Itchiness

As estrogen is related to collagen production and skin hydration, a decline in this hormone can lead to increased itchiness or dryness, typically around the vulva, but may also occur elsewhere.

Get tips for managing itching during menopause.

19. Sleep disturbance

An individual’s sleep can become lighter or disrupted for many reasons during menopause. They may wake frequently due to night sweats, wake up earlier, or find it difficult to get to sleep.

Learn about menopause and insomnia.

20. Difficulty concentrating

A decline in estrogen can sometimes cause mental fogginess or difficulty concentrating. Hot flashes and sleep issues may also be contributing factors.

21. Memory lapses

As with concentration and focus, menopause can also affect memory. Again, this could be a direct result of lower estrogen levels or compromised sleep.

22. Thinning hair

During menopause, hair loss or thinning is another result of ovarian hormonal fluctuations. This causes the hair follicles to shrink, meaning that hair grows more slowly and sheds more easily.

Find tips on the best shampoos for menopausal hair loss.

23. Brittle nails

During or after menopause, the body may not produce enough keratin, which is the substance that nails need to stay strong. This can lead to brittle, weak nails that crack or break easily.

24. Weight gain

Individuals can gain weight due to several factors during menopause. A decline in estrogen can result in weight gain, as can lower amounts of physical activity. Mood changes can also mean that a female eats differently than usual.

Read about menopause and weight.

25. Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence refers to a frequent or sudden urge to urinate. Some people also refer to it as an “overactive bladder.” This symptom is common during menopause, as changes in hormone levels can cause the bladder and pelvic muscles to become weaker.

26. Dizzy spells

Hormonal changes in menopause can cause anxiety. A 2018 study stated that dizziness is one of the most common symptoms of menopause, but the exact cause of it is not known. However, the study conducted on 470 individuals found that dizziness in menopause may have a connection with anxiety.

Learn more about menopause and dizziness.

27. Allergies

Some females report new or worsening allergy symptoms when they experience menopause. This happens because, during menopause, females can have spikes in histamine. Histamine is the chemical that causes allergic reactions.

28. Osteoporosis

During perimenopause, a decline in estrogen can also result in a loss of bone density. In severe cases, this can lead to osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become more fragile and break easily.

Read about postmenopausal osteoporosis.

29. Irregular heartbeat

Some people may experience an irregular heartbeat or palpitations during or after menopause. It is always a good idea to discuss symptoms relating to the heart with a healthcare professional.

Learn about palpitations and menopause.

30. Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a symptom that involves hearing a sound that has no external cause. This can include a ringing in the ears, roaring, or buzzing. It may affect one or both ears. Other signs of tinnitus may include:

  • whistling
  • humming
  • clicking
  • hissing
  • squealing

While the exact prevalence is unknown, a 2018 study has shown that people going through menopause may experience tinnitus. This may be due to the hormonal changes within the body. This research has also shown that hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) may help treat tinnitus.

31. Irritability

Either due to hormonal fluctuations or the effect of other menopause symptoms, people experiencing this change may feel irritable. Stress or a lack of sleep may also contribute to this.

32. Depression

For some people, hormonal imbalances may trigger depression. A lack of sleep and stress can contribute to this.

In some cases, menopause may trigger depression or low mood because of the change it signifies in a female’s life. Any significant life change can play a role in depression, even if the change is a positive one.

Learn more about menopause and depression.

33. Anxiety

Anxiety is another mood-related symptom that some people experience during menopause. It may worsen at night or only occur intermittently as hormone levels fluctuate.

Both menopause-related depression and anxiety may be situational and improve once hormones level out.

Learn more about menopause and anxiety.

34. Panic disorder

In some cases, individuals may experience panic attacks during menopause. When these attacks occur unexpectedly or suddenly, they can indicate panic disorder. This may happen due to hormonal changes or the fear of feeling anxious itself.

Find out more about panic attacks and panic disorder.

Most people do not experience all 34 of these symptoms during menopause.

There are several treatments that a person can try to reduce discomfort, including:

  • HRT, which temporarily replaces hormones such as estrogen
  • vaginal estrogen, which can improve lubrication and prevent dryness
  • antidepressants, which can reduce mood-related symptoms and improve hot flashes

There are also several lifestyle changes and self-care practices that can help alleviate symptoms, such as:

Learn more about natural remedies for menopause symptoms.

If an individual is experiencing new or unexplained symptoms, they should speak with a healthcare professional. Other health conditions can cause the symptoms associated with menopause, so it is important to rule these out.

Individuals should also consider speaking with a healthcare professional if their menopause symptoms are causing distress or disruption to their lives. If they are having difficulty sleeping, finding it difficult to work, or experiencing severe mood changes, some treatments may help.

Among the most common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, mood changes, fatigue, and irregular periods. However, people experience menopause differently.

It is important that healthcare professionals rule out other potential explanations for these symptoms, as menopause is not the only factor that could cause them.