Are Your Menopause Symptoms Worse than Expected?

3 minute read

By: Alloy Staff|Last updated: August 2, 2022

What to Do When Menopause Symptoms Are Worse than Expected

Are going through perimenopause or menopause and feeling overwhelmed by the changes in your body? 

Are your symptoms worse than expected? 

Maybe, before your body began this transition, you had heard or read about hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. You likely knew that these symptoms could range from being a mild annoyance for some women to being pretty bothersome for others. Now, however, you are going through perimenopause or menopause and your symptoms are worse than you ever anticipated. 

Don’t worry—Alloy can help. Take our free assessment and a menopause-trained doctor will review your symptoms and make sure you are getting the best menopause hormone therapy for your condition. 

What Are Common Menopause Symptoms? 

During the transition to menopause, your body’s estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate and eventually trend downward. Both of these hormones play essential roles not only in your reproductive health and sexual development but also in regulating many other bodily functions.  When your estrogen levels start fluctuating, all the systems in your body take notice and perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms arise.

Hot Flashes

Have you suddenly felt hot and sweaty? Did a prickly sensation spread across your chest and up your neck? Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

Estrogen helps regulate your body’s internal thermostat. Fluctuating estrogen levels cause your thermostat to become more sensitive and to kick into overdrive when it thinks your body is too warm. A hot flash is your body’s attempt to keep you cool. 

Lasting an average of 5 minutes, hot flashes typically occur anywhere from 10 times a day to several times a week and are the most common menopausal symptom. Hot flashes occur in 80% of all menopausal women. Hot flashes that occur at night are referred to as night sweats.

Mood Swings 

One moment you’re happy and enjoying yourself, the next you’re crying over something you saw on the television. You can blame your fluctuating hormone levels once again. Rest assured that you are not alone: 75% of women in perimenopause and menopause complain of mood swings. 

Poor Quality Sleep

Are you having a hard time staying asleep at night? Do you wake up feeling like you just want to fall right back into your bed? Poor sleep quality and sleep disturbance are common in women going through perimenopause and menopause. Insomnia with frequent nighttime awakenings and night sweats are contributing factors. Practicing good sleep hygiene by keeping a regular bedtime schedule, avoiding screen scrolling late at night, avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine, and keeping your room temperature comfortable can help you get a better night’s rest. 

Vaginal Dryness

Have you noticed that sex has become painful? Maybe you even have some vaginal tearing or bruising. Estrogen is responsible for keeping your vaginal walls lubricated and plump, and during menopause declining estrogen levels lead 10-40% of menopausal women to suffer from vaginal atrophy. Common complaints associated with vaginal atrophy include vaginal dryness, irritation, and burning.   

Menstrual Irregularity and Cessation

As your estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate during perimenopause, your ovaries will no longer predictably ovulate and your periods will become irregular. Eventually, your ovaries will cease to ovulate altogether and your menses will stop. Once you have gone 12 months without menstruating, you are officially in menopause. 

Why Are Some Menopause Symptoms Worse than Expected?

While menopause is a universal phenomenon for women, each woman’s experience of this natural transition and its symptoms is her own.  For some women, menopause arrives with hardly a symptom to note; for others, this transition can be difficult and the symptoms severe.

Several Factors Determine the Severity of Menopause Symptoms

There are several factors that may determine just how severe your menopause symptoms are. 

Mood Disorders

Research has shown that women who have had a history of mood disorders, including depression and anxiety, suffer from more severe menopausal symptoms. Suffering from either anxiety or depression can make menopausal symptoms feel even more overwhelming or burdensome.

Quality of Sleep and Menopause Symptoms

Not getting enough sleep or suffering from poor quality sleep affects all areas of your life, including how your experience menopause symptoms. The interplay between menopause and sleep is complicated: menopause itself is associated with sleep disturbances including insomnia, frequent awakenings, and sleep apnea, and sleep disturbances in turn are associated with increased hot flashes, mood swings, and irritability.

Stress

When you are stressed, your body responds and tries to help you out. Your adrenal glands produce two “stress” hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, that prepare you for “fight or flight.” 

Stress makes everything worse from cognitive functioning and sleep to menopausal symptoms.  Stress in and of itself can be a trigger for hot flashes, panic attacks, and palpitations.  Whether you control stress with regular exercise, meditation, or cognitive behavioral therapy, decreasing stress does help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes and mood disturbances.

Diet

Your diet can affect almost every menopausal symptom you are experiencing. For example, diets loaded with spicy foods and increased alcohol intake will worsen both hot flashes and sleep disturbances. High salt diets will increase water retention and elevate blood pressures in women with pre-existing hypertension. 

How to Alleviate Menopause Symptoms

There are a number of things you can do to help reduce the severity of your menopause symptoms.

Healthy Diet

One of the most significant actions you can take to improve your health and experience of menopause is to eat a healthy diet. 

Keep a Food Journal

Keeping a food and menopause symptom diary can help you to better understand the association between your diet and your symptoms. You may be able to identify food triggers that worsen your hot flashes, bloating, or mood swings. 

Regular Exercise

Menopause may have you feeling too tired to grab your sneakers and get in a walk or a run, but it may just be the thing you need to reduce your symptoms. Staying active has many positive benefits, both physical and mental. Along with promoting cardiovascular health, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise has been proven to improve sleep quality and mood in menopausal women. And add resistance training to your routine—it’s great for bone and muscle strength!

Practice Self Care to Treat Menopause

Going through menopause with severe symptoms is difficult and can make you feel like a completely different person. Know that you are not alone and that there are things that you can do to feel like yourself again. Practicing self care to help treat menopause symptoms has been proven to improve the quality of life of menopausal women. Reach out to friends and family to share your experience. Discuss your symptoms with a healthcare professional and start finding out about your treatment options. 

Menopause Hormone Therapy

Menopause hormone therapy (MHT) can help supplement your body’s decreasing levels of hormones. MHT is safe and effective in the majority of healthy menopausal women and provides relief for myriad menopausal symptoms. Menopause hormone therapy can come in the following forms:

Alloy Can Help When Menopause Symptoms Are Worse than Expected 

Alloy’s menopause specialists are ready to help you with your symptoms, even if they are worse than you ever expected. Start today with a free assessment. It’s easy and will only take 3-5 minutes. After you submit your assessment, a menopause-trained doctor will review your results and prescribe the menopause hormone therapy solution that will help your symptoms.

Your menopause treatment will be delivered to your door. Stop suffering from your symptoms and start living the life you deserve.

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