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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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“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.

“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.”

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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“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.

“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.”

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