Fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause a variety of symptoms. Because each woman experiences menopause differently, some have many symptoms and some have very few. Severity of symptoms also varies a great deal.

Symptoms include:

Irregular Periods

  • Shorter or longer cycles
  • Heavier or lighter bleeding
  • Spotting in between periods
  • Irregular ovulation
  • Reduced fertility

Hot Flashes

  • Reported in up to 80% of American women
  • Sudden onset of a feeling of heat
  • Face and neck flush
  • Lasting 30 seconds to five minutes
  • Occurring at any time
  • Usually stop within a few years after menopause

Vaginal and Bladder Problems

  • Skin in genital area becomes drier and thinner
  • Sexual intercourse may become painful
  • Vaginal infection potential increases
  • Urinary tract problems may occur, such as infection and incontinence

Changes in Sexuality

  • Attitude toward sex may change
  • Diminished interest in sex
  • Arousal and comfort may be issues
  • Liberation from concerns about pregnancy (but should use birth control until one year after last period)
  • Risk of sexually transmitted diseases remains

Fatigue and Sleep Problems

  • Normal sleep patterns may be interrupted
  • Early morning awakening

Mood Changes

  • Irritability and depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress and change in family dynamics may contribute to mood problems

Visible Changes in Your Body

  • Thickening at the waist
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increase in fat
  • Loss of elasticity in the skin

Other Potential Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Joint and muscle stiffness or pain
  • Difficulty concentrating