Please enjoy this enlightening guest post from Andrea Donsky, menopause expert and host of the podcast Menopause Reimagined.
5 Lesser-Known Symptoms of Menopause
Hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and brain fog—we must be talking about menopause! These are among the most common symptoms that affect women during this transitional time of life.
Yet that’s far from where the story ends. In fact, there are over 100 symptoms of menopause based on our research that gathered data from more than 3,000 women who are in perimenopause and menopause. Don’t panic: you aren’t going to experience all of the symptoms, and in fact you may only experience a few. However, you may be wondering about some symptoms you have and why they are happening. Let’s review them:
Itchy ears can result of declining estrogen levels that leave the mucus membranes in your inner ears drier and thinner. A lack of earwax also can cause the ears to become itchy and dry. One natural remedy is omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats (EPA and DHA) are found in cold water fish and also in supplements. When choosing a supplement, look for a triglyceride form that tackles dryness from the inside out. A drop of olive, avocado, or baby oil in the ear may also provide some relief.
Women in perimenopause and menopause are at greater risk of insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. You can reverse the trend toward diabetes by focusing on whole foods, managing stress (e.g., deep breathing, meditation, visualization, yoga), walking after eating, not eating starches on an empty stomach, and taking black seed oil. Black seed oil, also known as cumin seed oil, contains a phytochemical called thymoquinone, which has many health benefits. A black seed oil supplement standardized to 3% thymoquinone may help you manage this symptom.
Restless legs, eye twitches, muscle spasms
All of these symptoms are related as they involve involuntary movement of your muscles. Several factors may cause these symptoms. Declining estrogen levels can contribute to an inability for the muscles to relax, which results in unwanted movements. Dropping hormone levels also can affect circulation, which means your cells may not get enough fuel and oxygen, resulting in cramps or spasms. Estrogen is also a player in aiding absorption of magnesium, a mineral necessary for muscle relaxation.
You may get relief from these involuntary movements and the discomfort or pain they may cause by adding more magnesium to your diet in the form of leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and beans. Nearly 50 percent of Americans and 70 to 80 percent of individuals older than 70 don’t consume their daily magnesium requirement (320 milligrams for women). A high-quality magnesium supplement that provides the mineral as magnesium bisglycinate chelate is gentle on the digestive system and helps with relaxing muscles. Stress also depletes magnesium, so a daily stress management practice is recommended.
Gas, bloating, loose stools, constipation—does this sound like what you’ve been experiencing? A woman’s digestive system changes in perimenopause and menopause, so you need to change along with it. And there’s one change that can make a world of difference: fiber. You need 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily to keep your digestive system in optimal shape. You can enjoy your fiber in the form of other whole grains, beans and legumes, broccoli, avocados, berries, apples, and dried fruits. A great way to boost your fiber intake is to add a gentle fiber supplement. Fiberus® is a fast-dissolving prebiotic fiber supplement that is free of taste, grit, and smell while delivering 6 grams of fiber per serving.
A symptom of perimenopause and menopause that many women overlook is hair loss, yet it can be one of the more distressing ones. Hair thinning and hair loss in menopause can be the result of a hormone imbalance. As estrogen and progesterone levels drop, hair grows more slowly and becomes thinner while the amount of hair also declines. The accompanying rise in androgen production causes hair follicles to shrink, which can lead to hair loss.
To help promote and support hair health, focus on managing stress, as chronic stress is a big contributor to hair loss. In fact, Harvard researchers found that chronic stress places hair follicles into an extended resting stage during which hair falls out more easily and new growth is less likely.
Also have your thyroid function tested and levels of ferritin, vitamin B12, and vitamin D checked, as disruptions in any of these factors can contribute to hair loss. Talk to your doctor about resolving any deficiencies or imbalances. Two other tips: never brush your hair while it’s wet, and wash your hair no more than twice a week. (Editor’s note: For even more info on coping with hair loss, put ‘hair loss’ or ‘thinning hair’ in the Search Box on the right side of the page. It will bring up all posts related to this symptom.)
Although there are more than 100 symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause, many women are aware of only a few. Here we’ve introduced you to five of the less common ones, but you can check out the rest at We Are Morphus along with scores of informative articles pertaining to perimenopause and menopause.
Gal K. Benefits of black seed oil. Medical News Today 2023 Apr 4
Lau J. How chronic stress leads to hair loss. Harvard Gazette 2021 Mar 31
Warren RM. How to get more magnesium in your diet. Consumer Reports 2017 Mar 16