© lynette sheppard

Enjoy this guest post by Wendy Sowards of femininity.life.

5 Worst Menopause Symptoms You’ve Never Heard Of

Aging is often marked by a series of predetermined biological changes. For women, the natural process of passing through womanhood tends to come with the complexities of navigating changes that may be brought on by menopause.

For some, menopause is welcomed as the turning point in their life, transitioning from one phase into another, learning as new developments take shape during these seemingly formidable years.

While we’ve come to learn and, perhaps accept the symptoms that have been associated with menopause – hot flashes; night sweats; mood swings; weight gain – many women tend to be surprised by symptoms that are not as frequently discussed by their healthcare providers or within their support groups.

Menopause: Understanding The Discomfort 
While there is often the possibility to paint menopause, and the relevant symptoms in a positive light, menopause is not without a series of challenges that unfolds over several years.

Menopause is typically marked after not having a regular menstrual period for at least 12 consecutive months. However, in the time before, the stage known as perimenopause, women may still encounter ordinary or irregular menstrual periods, and the ability to fall pregnant.

Usually around the age of 52 years, women may be entering menopause, and stepping into a whole new phase of their life. During the menopausal stage, various symptoms – night sweats; hot flashes; mood swings, or vaginal dryness – may become more elevated until postmenopause, when symptoms become lighter and more manageable.

Why is this important? Well, for starters, we’re constantly reminded of the most well-known, and perhaps most lived through menopausal symptoms. Yet, with many things considering women’s health and wellness, the spectrum of symptoms that a person may experience during the seven to fourteen years of menopause can be different for everyone, and some might even feel completely out of the ordinary.

From what we know and have been uncovered in recent years due to the advancement of technology and research in women’s health, estrogen and a few other hormones, are mostly responsible for the symptoms a person may be having or have experienced throughout perimenopause and menopause.

As we know by now, during perimenopause as menstrual cycles become less frequent and more irregular, the direct effect thereof tends to cause a decline in estrogen levels, one of the most important female and reproductive hormones.

Without the necessary provisions to help promote estrogen production, or regulate estrogen levels, the cause thereof tends to be a series of symptoms that may be different for each person, experienced throughout menopause and causing discomfort throughout a person’s day-to-day routine.

Again, you might be wondering why it’s important for us to revisit this topic. It’s mostly to highlight, and clearly indicate to women, and anyone else, that irregular and lesser-known menopause symptoms may be caused by hormonal changes and declining estrogen.

This shows us, yet again, that while most women might experience changes during menopause, each and everyone may experience something different. This includes physical symptoms, but most importantly, the level of severity and duration of symptoms. We’re all different, but, we’re all conditioned to the culprit that is estrogen causing changes and challenges in our bodies as we begin to age.

Menopause Symptoms You’ve Never Heard Of 
Without further complicating an already complex phase in a person’s life, here’s a rundown of five menopause symptoms that a person may encounter, but have never heard of before.

Burning Tongue Syndrome/Burning Mouth Syndrome
Both burning tongue syndrome (BTS) and burning mouth syndrome (BMS) are associated with a burning sensation, often a tender or tingling feeling, similar to something hot being placed inside the mouth or on the tongue, and causing a numbing sensation in the oral mucosa.

Minimal research regarding the cause and long-term effects of BTS and BMS are available, however, experts suggest that it’s due to the absence of oral lesions or laboratory findings. More than this, oro-dental problems that may be frequent among menopausal women include gingival bleeding or bleeding gums, loose teeth, or receding gums.

To make matters more complex, BMS is often not isolated within one specific region or part of the mouth. In one study, there is an indication that the tip of the tongue is often the most common location for BTS and BMS. This is followed by the lips, lateral border of the tongue, and the palate experiencing the majority of the burning sensation.

Treatments for BMS are still in the process of being developed, however, some experts on the matter suggest that a low dose of chemical medications, including benzodiazepine and tricyclic antidepressants may help. Other things, such as dietary supplements, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), or a local desensitizing application, such as capsaicin may work.

Believe it or not, capsaicin is commonly found in some commercial hot sauces and may help to relieve the discomfort of BTS or BMS. A diluted 1:2 ratio mixture of hot sauce and water may help to lower the burning sensation.

Metallic or Metal Taste In Mouth 
While we’re on the topic of oro-dental and oral-related symptoms menopausal women might experience, another possible change might be the taste of metal or having a metallic-like taste present in the mouth. This includes both during times when consuming food and beverages, or not having anything present in the mouth.

For some part, we can blame declining estrogen levels for the change in taste and taste buds during menopause. However, surprisingly enough, low estrogen levels aren’t the only culprit this time and are perhaps a combination of things that may be taking place all at once.

For starters, your body needs moisture, this includes things such as your eyes, skin, and mouth. However, over time, our bodies begin to lose moisture, or at least in part, have a harder time retaining moisture. This can leave certain parts of the body feeling dehydrated, including your mouth, which is usually covered in saliva.

Saliva is the thing that helps to keep moisture in your mouth and helps to break down the chemical components in food. On top of this, saliva helps to keep your mouth protected against bacterial infection, especially during times when you’re feeling dehydrated.

All of this boils down to the point that a combination of hormonal and chemical reactions may cause the mouth to become dehydrated, causing a decrease in saliva, and creating an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

There’s still not yet enough known about the metal taste some women may experience during menopause, but some experts believe this could be due to the low levels of estrogen that may cause gradual dehydration of the body and mouth.

Furthermore, less saliva, and having a drier mouth, especially the mucus membranes in your mouth further reduces the ability to taste and may influence taste receptors, such as having the ability to taste different things such as sweet, salty, bitter, or savory.

Brittle and Dry Nails 
There have been some accounts of women who experience brittle and dry nails during menopause, often caused by hormonal changes. From what experts have observed, many suggest that declining estrogen levels during the perimenopause and menopause stages may decrease or weaken keratin, a hard protein that helps to keep our nails healthy.

As estrogen levels gradually decline during perimenopause and then begin to accelerate at the stage of menopause, keratin may become weaker and less frequent in nails. This may result in a person’s nails feeling less healthy or breaking easily.

The reason for this, and similar to that of having a dry mouth or experiencing a metallic taste, is that estrogen is mostly responsible for maintaining and regulating moisture throughout our bodies. Without the hormone present, or dwindling supply, our bodies will begin to lose moisture, causing a series of changes throughout menopause.

Unfortunately, this means that our nails tend to fall victim to decreased estrogen levels or our bodies are unable to regulate hydration levels.

On the other hand, there are some ways in which women can alleviate, and perhaps prevent their nails from further deteriorating during menopause.

One of the best, and perhaps most common preventative measures is to use a high-quality hand or nail cream that contains Vitamin E. Vitamin E is often quoted as helping to rejuvenate skin cells and promote the ability for the skin to repair itself.

Another possible remedy could be to wear gloves when cleaning or using any harsh chemicals. This includes avoiding the use of harsh chemicals such as acetone when cleaning or maintaining your nails. You might also want to avoid using any type of gel or synthetic materials, such as artificial nails, allowing your nails to breathe.

During all of this, try and visit a nail technician or professional who can help to take care of your cuticles. You can also soak your fingertips in hot water to loosen any cuticle skin and carefully cut off any dead cuticle skin. Finally, you may want to consider taking a dietary supplement that contains either Vitamin E or Vitamin D, as these may help to boost skin rejuvenation and promote healthy-looking skin that can repair itself.

Presence or Increase of New Allergies 
For years, you might’ve prided yourself on having minimal allergies, often allowing you to consume various types of foods, or use different types of products without having to second guess the ingredients that may be present in these products.

However, with age comes a bit of change, and one of these might be the presence or increase of new allergies that you previously didn’t have.

There have been some accounts where women might be more prone to severe allergic symptoms or autoimmune disorders compared to their male counterparts. In fact, in one study, scientists noticed that females suffering from severe allergic symptoms tend to be higher among females after puberty compared to men.

Even more, it’s estimated that roughly 75 percent of people living with some sort of autoimmune disease tend to be females. Autoimmune disease or deficiencies are in some instances the leading cause of morbidity in females.

Now, this isn’t to say that you might have developed new allergies during perimenopause or even menopause for that matter. However, it’s important to consider that as you become older, certain hormonal fluctuations may cause changes in the body, and to your autoimmune system, specific allergies might become more elevated or you might become more sensitive to specific food or ingredients.

Furthermore, studies explain that hormones could in some instances cause an allergic reaction. This would mean that in some instances, offending allergens might be a person’s own hormones. These changes tend to take place earlier on in a woman’s life, usually around the perimenstrual stage, however, this may vary from person to person, and the variation in the menstrual cycle may further cause a cyclic expression of allergic symptoms.

As a precaution, women are advised to consider their eating and diet habits and take note of certain foods or ingredients that may cause either an allergic reaction, or leave them with some form of discomfort, either feeling bloated, itchy, scratchy, or inflamed skin, or feelings of nausea after consuming specific ingredients.

Increase in Body Odor 
Natural scent and body odor are a biological occurrence. However, this doesn’t remain the same throughout a person’s life and gradually changes as a person may encounter several life-changing periods during their life.

In women, this is usually around the time of menopause. According to experts from the Harvard Medical School, changes in body odor in women can be a cause of several things. These include a change in a person’s sense of smell during perimenopause, and then later on, the perspiration caused by hot flashes and night sweats.

The profuse of hot flashes and night sweats may lead to an increase in underarm bacteria, leaving behind body odor, or causing a person’s natural scent to change. Furthermore, experts believe that the decrease in estrogen and increase in testosterone can attract more bacteria to sweat, leaving behind a less pleasant smell or odor.

Symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats experienced during menopause can leave the underarms feeling stickier, often moist, and less clean. This is mostly a result of higher moisture concentration present under a person’s arms and the presence of sweat.

Then there’s the case of menopausal women struggling with urine incontinence. When this occurs, a person might notice a specific smell, however, this is usually only noticeable to women who may experience incontinence and not necessarily to other people around them.

Additionally, some suggest that changes in vaginal pH due to hormonal changes may create a slightly different vaginal odor. A person might experience this in times of elevated vaginal dryness, or those that might have difficulty with vaginal atrophy.

For women who have not yet visited an expert, either their healthcare provider, or the OB/GYN, it’s advised to address the matter in the event that it may cause some discomfort, or when you feel slightly alarmed by the severity of vaginal dryness or changes in body or vaginal odor.

More than this, women who might have noticed a change in their body odor may want to continue using an antiperspirant spray, wear loose-fitting clothing, and consider changing their diet to avoid certain foods, including red meat, processed food, onions, garlic, and sugary products.

Finishing Thoughts 
Aging brings about a lot of new changes, yet not all of them might be what a person expects, and for women in menopause some symptoms might catch them off guard and might leave them feeling concerned. While most of the time these symptoms are nothing to be concerned about, checking in with your healthcare provider or OB/GYN can help give you some peace of mind, and they might provide you with some guidance regarding possible things you can do to alleviate any discomfort.

Although, it’s important to remember that menopause, and any changes that may occur leading up to this point are mostly natural and part of the wider biological process. Menopause isn’t all about the physical and psychological changes a person may experience, instead, it’s the ending of one chapter and the start of a completely new part of a person’s life that may bring new opportunities and possibilities.

More on Burning Mouth Syndrome

Another Five Forgotten Symptoms of Menopause