4 Early Signs of Menopause That Are Often Overlooked

Apr 01, 2023
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Most women know about some of the most common symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes and night sweats. But there are subtler signs that often happen in the earliest stages. Here are four you should be aware of.

About a million women will enter menopause this year, experiencing symptoms that can make life more than a little uncomfortable. What they may not realize is those symptoms can happen long before their periods end, during a phase of menopause called perimenopause.

Menopause and perimenopause symptoms are triggered by a decline in estrogen and progesterone. Most commonly associated with reproduction and menstruation, these hormones play far greater roles in a woman’s health. When levels drop, widespread changes can occur.

Fortunately, most symptoms can be treated, even during the earliest stage of menopause. The key is recognizing those symptoms, including subtler signs that might be ignored or overlooked.

As a leading internal medicine practice in Miami, Florida, I & B Medical Associates specializes in medical care for adults, including women in or near menopause. In this post, our team reviews four early signs of menopause to help you get treatment — and relief — as soon as possible.

1. Brain fog

Many women in or near menopause feel more confused, overwhelmed, or frazzled. While it’s easy to pass it off as normal aging, it’s actually a relatively common symptom associated with the decline in estrogen and progesterone.

Often described as brain fog, this type of confusion can interfere with just about every aspect of your life. Worse, it can also lead to anxiety and depression, two other symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause.

2. Fatigue

Fatigue is a common menopause symptom often attributed to the stresses of daily living. As a result, many women don’t seek treatment. 

The fact is, declining hormone levels can also interfere with your typical sleep patterns and the processes that support proper sleep. Menopause can also increase your levels of anxiety and moodiness, both of which can make it hard to get a good night’s rest.

Of course, hot flashes and night sweats play a role too.

3. Skin, hair, and nail changes

As hormone levels decline, many women notice their hair starts to thin, often becoming dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Some find their previously straight hair has become frizzy. Fingernails and toenails may be more likely to peel and break.

Dry, itchy skin is a common complaint among many women in or near menopause. Some are bothered by intense itching around their nipples, while others find itching and flaking are more widespread. 

4. Weight gain 

Many women gain weight during the years leading up to menopause, then have a lot of trouble losing those extra pounds. That’s because estrogen plays a key role in metabolism — how your body uses and burns calories. 

Of course, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and depression can cause a decline in physical activity, making weight loss even more problematic. 

Being overweight is associated with a host of medical problems, like high blood pressure and heart disease. Early medical treatment is essential for your long-term health and well-being.

Managing your symptoms

While some menopause symptoms can be managed with individual treatments (personal lubricants for vaginal dryness, for example), many women benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to address multiple symptoms at once. 

HRT uses synthetic hormones to supplement the hormones your body produces naturally. During HRT treatment, your hormone levels are monitored to ensure precise dosing so you can enjoy maximum benefits. 

Menopause causes dozens of symptoms, and each woman experiences menopause in a different way. Bottom line: If you have any unusual symptoms and you’re in or near menopause, scheduling a visit is a great way to find solutions to help you feel better.

To learn more about menopause symptoms and how we can help you manage them, call 786-321-2399 or book an appointment online at I & B Medical Associates today.