Women associate menopause with just five symptoms, despite experts warning there are 62

The UK’s biggest ever study into the menopause found women recognise hot flushes, night sweats, tiredness, sleep difficulties and irregular periods are all part of the process.

The UK’s biggest ever study into the menopause found women recognise hot flushes, night sweats, tiredness, sleep difficulties and irregular periods are all part of the process.

But further study proves other ailments such as tinnitus, urinary infections, change in body odour, weak bones and restless legs can all be associated with this time in a woman’s life, according to specialists.

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As can increased allergies, heart palpitations and changes in oral health.

Research of 5,000 women pre-menopause, in peri, or post menopause – and found even women who are at the end of their journey remain relatively clueless about what they have been through.

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    It also emerged that of those women who are going through, or have had their menopause, just 40 per cent visited a GP to get help for their symptoms.

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    Understanding your body better

    This research was commissioned by hygiene and health company Essity, who have teamed up with menopause specialist Dr Naomi Potter, to create a series of educational packs to help all women better understand their changing bodies.

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    A common misconception among all women polled is that the menopause runs across many years.

    But Dr Potter advises this transition period is called the perimenopause – and the time when hormones fluctuate can last for years and years.

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    The menopause occurs 12 months after a woman’s last period.

    She said: “I hear of so many myths from women who are unsure about what their body will or is going through – many of whom are in total denial.

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    “Women believe they can’t experience symptoms in their forties because they’re not old enough, or their symptoms aren’t menopausal – when in fact if they’re over 45, it’s likely they are.

    “And women are just as baffled about help available from medical professionals, believing they can’t be treated if they’re overweight, old, have migraines, have liver disease, high blood pressure and so on.

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    “The reason why it is so hard to pinpoint the number of symptoms is also because not all are associated with peri or menopause – people do obviously suffer with other ailments which are totally unrelated.”

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    Changes to hormone levels

    While nearly half felt ill informed about what their body was going through, 56 per cent admitted to being constantly surprised at what they were experiencing.

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    Just one per cent of women were aware more unusual symptoms like urinary frequency or vaginal changes were part of the journey to menopause – until they endured them.

    Similarly, only two per cent knew they would have to put up with the likes of incontinence, skin problems or heart palpations.

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    And just three per cent understood their feelings of dizziness, loss of confidence or loss of joy were directly linked to the change in their hormone levels.

    For women who claim to be pre perimenopause, one third don’t think it happens to every female.

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    And four in 10 are unsure whether it can be hereditary in terms of the age it starts, or symptoms suffered.

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    Check with your GP first, just to be sure

    A further two thirds have no idea whether the journey to menopause can decrease sex drive, and 74 per cent didn’t realise it could be linked with weight gain.

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    While nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of those polled, via OnePoll, don’t believe symptoms can be treated.

    A spokesman for Essity, which has launched a new online menopause community called www.Issviva.co.uk, said: “This is the UK’s biggest ever study on menopause, and the findings tell us that it’s a heavily misunderstood subject.

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    "And the taboo surrounding it means women aren’t accessing the information and advice that could really help them.

    “There’s an opportunity to bring all of the knowledge, experience and expertise that exists together in one place and that’s our objective with Issviva.

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    “We want it to be a one-stop-shop for all things related to the menopause, and the community aspect of it will help reassure women that they are not alone.

    “Of course, anybody experiencing symptoms should visit their GP first to ensure a correct diagnosis.”

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    The 62 menopause symptoms, according to Dr. Naomi Potter

    1. Palpitations
    2. Chest pain
    3. Breast tenderness
    4. Itchy skin
    5. Dry Skin
    6. Rosacea
    7. Acne
    8. Thin skin
    9. Collagen loss
    10. Crying
    11. Brain Fog
    12. Memory Loss
    13. Poor concentration
    14. Word finding difficulty
    15. Anxiety
    16. Low mood
    17. Worsening PMS
    18. Anger/ Rage /
    19. Irritability
    20. Headache
    21. Migraines
    22. Joint Pain
    23. Joint stiffness
    24. Vaginal Dryness
    25. Vaginal discharge
    26. Vulval itch
    27. Perineal itch
    28. Vulval/ vaginal electric shocks
    29. Increase in thrush
    30. Increase in BV
    31. Poor libido
    32. High libido
    33. Weight gain
    34. Scalp Hair loss
    35. Unwanted Hair growth
    36. Urinary Infections
    37. Urinary incontinence
    38. Urinary urgency
    39. Nocturia (getting up at night)
    40. Sexual Dysfunction
    41. Chest Tightness
    42. Constipation
    43. Gastric reflux
    44. Fatigue
    45. Night Sweats
    46. Hot flushes
    47. Cold flushes
    48. Period increased frequency
    49. Periods decreased frequency
    50. Heavier periods
    51. Muscle Loss
    52. Tinnitus
    53. Dry eyes
    54. Watery eyes
    55. Burning mouth
    56. Gum disease
    57. Foot pain
    58. Frozen shoulder
    59. Insomnia
    60. Histamine sensitivity
    61. New allergy
    62. Body odour change