Surprise! Strange and Unexpected Symptoms of Menopause

Like many women, you probably knew that hot flashes, brain fog, and some vaginal dryness could come along with menopause. But you might not have been prepared for all baggage that could arrive.

If you’ve found yourself surprised by some of the unexpected symptoms of menopause, you’re not alone. Your HysterSisters have had some of them, too.

Here are just a few of the unexpected symptoms they’ve experienced.

Ringing Ears (Tinnitus)

It’s not known for sure if there is a true connection between menopause and ringing ears, but many of your HysterSisters think there is. Some have shared that the ringing lets them know they’re estrogen levels are low. Others found it happened when changing hormone therapies or as their hormone levels fluctuated.

One possible explanation is that it happens because of a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals that get used up from processing estrogen replacement. It might be related to all the changes your body is going through as part of menopause. Aging and several health conditions may cause tinnitus, too, so it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if your ears start ringing on a regular basis.

Whatever the cause, it can be very annoying. Supplementing with magnesium, B vitamins, and zinc may help. If your estrogen levels are too low, you and your doctor may decide to increase your dose or try a different hormone replacement therapy (HRT). A sound machine or some type of white noise can help drown out the ringing. Relaxation and regular exercise may also be helpful. As a last resort, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication.

Heart Palpitations

Although they aren’t talked about much, many women do experience heart palpitations during menopause. Some of your HysterSisters have made trips to the emergency room, assuming they were having a heart attack. Having your heart suddenly speed up or beat out of rhythm can be scary – and you should never assume it’s normal until you’ve been checked out by your doctor. Intensity and duration can vary from woman to woman, so it’s really important to be evaluated just in case it is a heart attack or a sign of other heart disease.

Once heart palpitations are ruled a side effect of menopause, you and your doctor can discuss your options. Using some HRT may be helpful. Reducing hot flashes may also reduce heart palpitations. Taking steps to keep your heart healthy – such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and not smoking – can also be beneficial.

Blurry Vision

You may have expected dry eyes, but if you’re like many of your HysterSisters you may not have known that blurry vision can be a symptom of menopause, too. Lower levels of estrogen and progesterone can make you less nearsighted – in other words, you can’t read the fine print. Around menopause, the shape of your eye can change, too, and water retention from low estrogen may lead to inflammation of the cornea, making it harder to focus.

Several of your HysterSisters have found they’ve needed new corrective lenses and reading glasses became a must. It can also become difficult to wear contact lenses. Having dry eyes just adds insult to injury.

Hair Loss

The symptoms of menopause can be frustrating enough without finding strands of hair in the shower, your hair brush, and all over the floor. Your HysterSisters share that it’s even more aggravating if you notice a mustache even as the hair on your head thins. Yes, the two can be connected. A drop in estrogen can trigger an increase in androgens which shrink hair follicles on your head but trigger facial hair. Lower levels of estrogen and progesterone also slow down how fast your hair grows.

Some of the common symptoms of menopause may also trigger hair loss. For example, stress and anxietycan lead to unhealthy hair loss. Dehydration and poor eating habits from menopausal cravings can negatively affect your hair, too. There’s also a lot of changes in life that arrive around menopause which leave your body compromised and not as healthy, both of which may not help with the health of your hair.

HRT to balance out your hormones and reduce menopause symptoms can be helpful for preventing hair loss. It’s also important to eat healthy, manage chronic health conditions, and take steps to manage stress.

Aching Joints

Several of your HysterSisters have found they started experiencing aching joints once they reached menopause. Old injuries become sore again and places they didn’t even know they had began hurting. Once again, low estrogen and common menopause symptoms are the culprits. You may not have realized it, but estrogen helps reduce inflammation. Those menopause symptoms that leave you tense – stress, lack of sleep, hot flashes – may increase muscle tension and thus aches and pains. You also lose bone density when estrogen levels drop.

Since your body naturally becomes weaker as you age, some exercises can help strengthen your bones and muscles and minimize those aches and pains. HRT may also help reduce menopause symptoms and minimize bone loss that can contribute to osteoporosis and an aching body. There are some supplements and medications which may also be helpful, depending on symptoms and overall health. Together, you and your doctor can design the best regime for you and your aching joints.

Body Odor

More than one of your HysterSisters have been embarrassed by an unpleasant body odor and some extra sweat that started following them around during menopause. To add insult to injury, their regular deodorants stop working. Besides hot flashes that leave you drenched in sweat, the decrease in estrogen during menopause messes up internal thermostats so there’s even more sweat. Yuck. If you’re not careful, the odor and sweat will leave you smelling like you store your clothes in a football team’s locker room.

Some HRT may help hot flashes, vaginal or bladder issues, and any hormonal imbalance that may be the underlying key to the problem. Learning to minimize hot flashes is another way to help reduce some of the sweating and odor. You may also need to tweak your diet. Menopause can change how you metabolize and digest food, so eggs, garlic, and onions are some foods which might leave you a bit “odorous.”

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.  Reprinted with permission: Surprise! Strange and Unexpected Symptoms of Menopause

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