Right. Let’s get down to business: what are the worst menopause symptoms?
But what of those lesser-talked-about symptoms — what some imagine to be the worst of an already less-than-ideal bunch?
Before we take you through the more unusual symptoms of menopause, let’s take a moment to appreciate what it all means.
Menopause is a natural biological process that everyone experiences differently.
For some, it’s a relatively smooth journey with mild symptoms. For others, the effects can last years and feel devastating.
But none of it is beyond management and support — as long we talk about it.
Even the worst symptom is a sure sign your body is evolving. And securing ways to ease you through it is a step closer to self-acceptance.
We’re here to help you get there with accessible steps that let you take back the steering wheel and move forward.
Let’s have the conversation.
In this article: 📝
- Can menopause make you feel horrible?
- What are some severe symptoms of menopause?
- What are the worst menopause symptoms?
- What are some weird symptoms of menopause?
- What are the 3 main health complications that can occur with menopause?
- Do menopause symptoms get worse at the end?
Can menopause make you feel horrible?
We’re sorry to say, but for some people, yes.
Menopause can make you feel horrible.
But the good news?
There’s a massively supportive menopause community here at Peanut, connecting with and encouraging each other through this transformative life phase.
Knowing other people are dealing with similar things can really, really help.
Even though everyone’s experience and exact symptoms are unique, never feel you have to suffer alone or in silence.
What are some severe symptoms of menopause?
With that in mind, here’s some of what you might experience.
They’re usually accompanied by things like night sweats and shivery chills after.
That’s certainly not it, though. Other potential symptoms include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Body odor
- Decreased breast fullness
- Decreased sex drive
- Dental problems and gum disease
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin
- Extreme fatigue
- Forgetfulness and brain fog
- Hair loss
- Headaches and migraines
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Itchy skin
- Metallic tastes
- Joint pain
- Mood changes
- Painful sex
- Changes to your metabolism
- Sore breasts
- Urinary incontinence
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Vaginal dryness
You might get some, all, or none of these.
Equally, the frequency and intensity of each symptom might change over time.
Basically, there’s no “right” way to experience menopause.
If any of these symptoms make you feel horrible and affect your daily life, reach out to your healthcare provider.
This is not something you just have to struggle through.
What are the worst menopause symptoms?
Many women in the early part of menopause say insomnia and lack of sleep are their biggest challenges.
Forgetfulness and brain fog can also be majorly frustrating when it comes to work and everyday tasks.
Add hot flashes, night sweats, and urinary incontinence into the mix — and you’ve got the most reported culprits.
The “worst” menopause symptoms will be different for everyone, but the good news is they are common (even if we struggle to talk about it).
And better yet, there’s ways to manage even the toughest symptoms:
Painful vaginal changes
If you enjoy an active sex life and suddenly are faced with painful sex, vaginal dryness, and irregular periods, this can be super challenging.
But it doesn’t mean you’re now in for an enduring sexless season (phew).
Local vaginal treatments, like estrogen creams, rings, or tablets, are hugely effective.
And showing yourself extra self-love could also help decrease dryness by increasing blood flow to your vagina.
Of course, an extra hand or a lube (that you’re not allergic to) is always welcome. 😏
It’s not uncommon for decreasing estrogen to decrease your urinary tract’s ability to control peeing.
And neither is the natural thinning and weakening of the bladder as we get older (called “pelvic relaxation”).
Kegel exercises and peeing as often as possible can help.
But so is being mindful that with bladder weakness, accidents can and do happen — to about 50% of menopausal women to be exact.
So rather than steering away from it, we should lean into it and normalize the conversations around incontinence.
Far from being embarrassing, it’s pretty common, and there’s even elegant solutions to help you ease through it.
Not only do we love TENA’s mission to encourage women to embrace their evolving bodies, their Sensitive Care™ Pads deliver the same triple protection from leaks, odor, and moisture and are dermatologically approved by the Skin Health Alliance.
With cushiony foam side barriers, Duolock core, and a secure comfortable fit, TENA Sensitive Care Pads offer the ultimate protection for women with incontinence.
Our other favorite feature? The proof that embracing uncomfortable conversations can bring comforting changes.
Hot flashes and night sweats
Let’s be real, as common as they are, hot flashes are the worse.
Especially when they’re joined by feelings of anxiety or panic.
Yep, a 2005 study has shown that women with high levels of anxiety are more likely to experience menopausal hot flashes.
And while we don’t know the exact reason, we do know some ways to alleviate the struggle.
Simple lifestyle modifications like dressing in layers and sleeping with an ice pack under your pillow can help with hot flashes and night sweats.
Focus on what’s affecting you the most, and use this as a basis for discussions with your doctor.
What are some weird symptoms of menopause?
From ringing in the ears to sensations of crawling skin and electric shocks, here are a few unusual menopause symptoms to look out for:
Never heard of it?
You’re not alone!
It’s a reasonably common sensory hallucination (possibly caused by lower estrogen levels) that makes you feel like small insects are crawling over your skin.
This is because our skin has estrogen receptors, which are deprived of the hormone during menopause, which can, annoyingly, bring about that dry, itchy skin.
It can be a mild or severely painful itch.
As the name suggests, it can make your tongue — or even the roof of the mouth and lips — feel sore and scalded.
Doctors believe it’s caused by nerve cells surrounding the taste buds that activate because of lowered estrogen.
Can’t shake clicking, ringing, or whooshing sounds in your ears?
Well, you might be suffering from menopausal tinnitus.
This condition is likely linked to changing hormones and can cause anything from mild irritation to a profound disturbance.
Unfortunately, in-depth research is pretty scarce.
Ouch! These jolts of pain can occur before hot flashes.
Or at completely random times.
They feel like electricity passing through your body and are probably caused by misfired neurons in the nervous system
And yep, hormonal variations are likely to blame here too.
Like other menopause issues, if any of these symptoms persist, it’s worth getting them checked out.
What are the 3 main health complications that can occur with menopause?
Unfortunately, there are a few health challenges as your body and hormone levels change.
Our health risks also naturally increase with age.
Here are three health complications to watch out for:
1. Heart disease
According to the American Heart Association, there’s a noticeable increase in coronary heart disease during the menopause transition.
Estrogen has all sorts of effects on our cardiovascular systems.
It supports blood flow, keeps our blood pressure down, and positively impacts cholesterol.
Once estrogen decreases, these benefits decrease too.
When coupled with rises in blood pressure, heart problems can affect people who’ve struggled with bad hot flashes.
To lower your risk, try following a heart-healthy lifestyle and tracking your blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels.
And, of course, all under the supervision of your doctor.
During menopause, bone loss is rapid as the estrogen protecting our bones drops.
As soon as you notice irregular periods and/or other menopause symptoms, chat with your doctor about supporting your bone health.
Exercise, a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, and stopping smoking all help.
3. Urinary issues
As decreases in estrogen cause vaginal tissue to become thinner and drier, it makes it easier for bacteria to grow.
Enter urinary tract infections.
Equally, the tissues of the bladder thin and weaken alongside something called “pelvic relaxation,” which happens as we get older.
Urinary incontinence is also another common issue, which refers to urinary leakage due to physical stress or bladder contraction.
While the prevalence of incontinence increases with age, about 70% of women report that their urinary incontinence started with the onset of their last menstrual period (the starting of menopause).
As hard as that frequent need to pee is, drinking plenty of water and peeing often is key to a speedy recovery.
Do menopause symptoms get worse at the end?
Menopause symptoms tend to start out slowly and gradually increase as perimenopause progresses.
After you hit menopause — defined as twelve months after your last period — things often improve as hormone levels steady out and your body gets used to its “new normal.”
As with all things menopause, this can be different for everybody.
Some women might find symptoms arrive out of nowhere and completely wipe them out.
You know your body best.
Try to key into what specifically is feeling worse for you.
For instance, have joint pains gotten worse?
Are hot flashes more frequent?
Are anxiety and insomnia making everyday tasks feel impossible?
Use this to guide your chats with health professionals so they can give tailored advice for your unique experience.
While every woman has a different experience of menopause, it’s always good to know what’s potentially in store.
That way, we can feel more confident discussing what’s happening with our bodies, knowing we aren’t alone — and asking for help.
And if you want to talk to other women who get it, you’re always welcome to join us on Peanut.