7 unusual symptoms of menopause

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Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

20 June 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog A.Vogel Talks Menopause. Now, I actually can’t believe that we’ve been doing these videos for nearly six months now, and we’ve covered a whole range of topics. We’ve done a lot of the serious ones, the physical ones, the emotional ones, but occasionally I actually get emails from women who are experiencing what they would call strange symptoms. They don’t understand the symptoms, and they’re wondering if they are actually menopausal at all.

The unusual symtoms of menopause

So I thought today that I would talk a little bit more about the less common symptoms and how you could possibly deal with those as well.

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1. Vision/spatial awareness

Now, one of the first things that we’ve had is people are finding that their depth of vision is changing or their spatial awareness has actually changed. And I had one woman who contacted me, and she found that she was suddenly bumping into doors. She couldn’t actually walk through a door straight. I had another woman who had been a very, very careful driver, never had any problems, and within the space of a couple of months, she’d actually bumped the car into her garden wall. She just couldn’t figure out how to actually drive the car that particular way. And one of the things I love about doing this job is that I learn as well, and it hadn’t actually occurred to me before I’d actually been asked these questions that that was one of the symptoms that I had.

I actually found for about three years that I could not park my car straight. Now, I know there’s always jokes about women and parking, but I’d never had a problem before then, but no matter how many times I tried, I just couldn’t get my car straight. Luckily, it’s nice to know that there was a specific reason for why that actually happened. These things do tend to go, which is something that is worth remembering as well.

However, if you’re in this situation where you’re finding that these particular symptoms are occurring, it is also a good idea just to check with your optician. The reason being is that we know that changing oestrogen levels can actually affect your sight, so it’s well worth going to the optician and just mentioning that you are actually going through the menopause, and they can take this into account as well.

2. Sense of smell/taste

One of the other things that can happen is that your sense of smell and taste can change. And we know we’ve had quite a large number of women who have emailed in they’re very worried because they suddenly start smelling their body odor, or they feel that their body odor has actually changed, and they’re worried that everybody else can smell them, and they’re being pongy all day.

We’ve also noticed that people can either lose their sense of taste or it can change to the point where they find that foods that they used to really love will actually make them feel sick or they can’t stand them anymore. Now, with these particular symptoms, it can also be due to low zinc levels, because low zinc can affect both your taste and sense of smell, and zinc tends to get used up a lot. It’s a bit like magnesium, our body actually needs quite a lot of it during the menopause. So if you are experiencing these two particular symptoms, then it might be an idea just to take a zinc supplement for a month or two to see if that makes any difference as well.

You could try:

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An essential nutrient, the citrate form of zinc is known to be readily absorbed. Easy to swallow and available in 90 or 180 tablets. Take 1 Lamberts Zinc 15mg tablet daily. Please note Taking zinc on an empty stomach may cause some minor digestive disturbance such as nausea. Should this be the case it is recommend that the zinc supplement is taken with a meal.

3. Cold flushes

Another symptom is cold flushes rather than hot flushes. Some people will find that they suddenly start getting a feeling of intense cold in their tummy area, or they start to get a cold flush. Now, this is caused by exactly the same mechanism as hot flushes, so although it’s not really very common, it can happen for some women. So you can use sage for this, and normally that will help quite quickly. However, again, feeling really cold, especially if you’re feeling cold all the time, and you’re getting a lot of cold sweats, this could indicate that you’ve got low thyroid function, and in which case it is a good idea to get this checked out by your doctor as well.

My top tip:

For flushes (hot or cold) I recommend that you take one sage tablet with food in the morning (breakfast) and for night sweats I recommend you take one sage tablet with food in the evening (dinner-time). If you experience both flushes and night sweats, then it’s best to take the one-a-day tablet in the morning with food.

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4. Skin problems

Now, for a lot of women, they can get quite surprised because they suddenly find that maybe as a teenager they had acne, and here they are again, going through the menopause, getting acne again. Some people will find that maybe many, many years ago as a child they had eczema, or psoriasis, or asthma, and suddenly these conditions have reappeared as they go through the menopause.

Now, what you need to remember is that the changing hormones, as I’m always saying, put tremendous pressure on the body. There’s a lot of busyness going on inside you all the time, 24 hours a day, as your body tries to cope with the changing hormone levels, and because of that extra energy that’s being used, it can actually allow these old symptoms to reappear. So if you think to yourself, “Oh, this is weird. I had this years ago. I wonder why it’s come back,” then it’s possibly just due to the fact that the menopause is actually taking it out of you a little bit too much. You need to look at conserving your energy levels. You need to look at maybe supporting your immune system as well and check your diet, too, especially if you’re getting these particular skin conditions as well.

5. Feeling spaced out

Some women also find that they get very spaced out. I mean, I had one woman who contacted me, and she said she didn’t actually feel as if she belonged on the planet anymore. That was the kind of feeling she was getting.

So this particular one, it can be due to a number of issues. Dehydration can do it. Your low blood sugar levels can do it, and it can be due to dietary factors. It can also be due to stress and anxiety as well. So if you’re feeling that you’re getting quite spaced out, do look at your lifestyle, look at what’s going on, and, you know, maybe just give yourself a little bit of a break. And sometimes these symptoms are just our bodies’ way of saying, “I need to rest. I need a break. Let me just step out of the world for a minute or two and just actually catch my breath.”

6. Feeling broody

What can happen with some women as they approach the menopause, and this doesn’t really matter whether you’ve actually had children or not, but interestingly enough, it tends to happen with a lot of women who’ve already had children, is that they get this huge urge to get pregnant again, and very often it’s as the menopause starts. So maybe their periods have already stopped, and they just suddenly get into such a panic, and it can take over everything.

This can be due to your hormones having…they’re almost having a little bit of a blip at the end. It can be a final fling. The body is going, “Yeah, let us just throw everything at this at the moment.” That can be quite a difficult one to resolve, purely because you can get into a very stressed state, it can take over, there can be a little bit of irrationality, if you like, over this particular incidence. And if your hormones have already started to change and especially if you’re over 50, it’s very, very unlikely that you will actually get pregnant again. So in these situations, it may actually be a good idea to maybe ask the doctor if you can get some kind of counseling just to help you over this particular situation.

7. Hair loss and hair changes

And one of the other symptoms that can happen is to do with our hair. Now, losing hair, your hair thinning, getting brittle hair, or your head hair actually becoming out of condition is very, very common, but we can get things happening to hair in other parts of our body.

Some women find that their eyebrows start to develop a life of their own. They can no longer keep them tidy, and they can actually go quite out of shape as well, and a lot of women do find that they start to lose their underarm hair and their pubic hair as well. And I actually had one woman who said, “I’m not quite sure what’s happening,” she said, “but I’m losing the hair on my legs, but it’s wonderful, because I don’t have to shave them anymore.” So, you know, there can be little silver linings in the menopause as well.

Until next week...

So hopefully, that’s given you a little bit of an insight into some of the less common symptoms in the menopause, and I am sure that there are those of you out there who’ve had other symptoms as well that you haven’t quite figured out.

So if that’s the case, please, you know, let me know what the symptoms are, and we might be able to figure out together what’s actually going on. So I look forward to seeing you again next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

Learn the truth behind other menopause myths

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