The same list of symptoms usually comes up for anyone searching the menopause online – hot flushes, mood swings, joint pain and fatigue, but did you know there are a whole host of lesser-known symptoms that can affect a woman during this time?
These symptoms aren’t always associated with the menopause and perimenopause but are just as important and often overlooked.
Nikki Porges, registered nurse in AXA Health’s 24/7 health support line for members, shares what other symptoms can occur and why it’s important not to just put them down to ageing and to see your GP if they’re of concern.
Tinnitus can be menopause symptom
This one is true. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can actually be a menopause symptom and is thought that it’s due to the drop in oestrogen levels which affects blood flow to the ears.
GPs would usually however, look into an issue with the ear itself rather than think of the menopause as the cause, but this can be a symptom that isn’t very widely known.
Dry eyes are just a part of ageing
Dry eye is when we don’t produce enough tears, so you experience stinging, burning or blurry vision, and can be a lesser-known symptom of the menopause.
Although it’s not 100% known why the menopause causes dry eyes, it’s thought that it’s down to the hormones again. In particular, low levels of oestrogen potentially affecting tear production and causing ineffective tears.
The NHS advise that you can help dry eye yourself by:
- clean your eyelids every day
- take breaks to rest your eyes when using a computer screen
- make sure your computer screen is just below eye level
- use a humidifier to stop the air getting dry
- if you wear contact lenses, take them out and wear glasses to rest your eyes1
Or a local pharmacist can also help by advising on any drops or eye gels that might ease symptoms; as well as determine if you need to see a doctor or optician.
Electric shock sensations are only a neurological issue
This isn’t true. Many women experience electric shock sensations during menopause, either on their own or before a hot flush occurs.
As the body uses electrical impulses as a signalling mechanism, physiological disturbances that occur during menopause can result in abnormal electrical sensations.2
It’s thought that the fluctuating hormone levels during the menopause affect the nervous system which can then lead to:
- tingling in the limbs
- pins and needles
- sharp pains that surge through the body
- or short and sharp pains in the head.
Not every woman will experience this but it’s a symptom you might not initially link to the menopause
The menopause can cause toothache
While you may well need to see a dentist if you develop toothache, if you’re going through the perimenopause or the menopause, then toothache might be a symptom of this as well.
This is because the mouth can become drier during the menopause which can lead to tooth issues, as bacteria grows faster when your mouth isn’t well lubricated.
An increase in bacteria can lead to tooth decay or bleeding gums so making sure you keep good dental hygiene, as well as drinking lots of fluids, can help keep this symptom at bay.