What are the most common complaints during menopause?

What are the most common complaints during menopause?
What are the most common complaints during menopause?

Menopause is a phase that involves a series of changes in the mind & body of the woman. This can be a challenging time for many, as you experience hot flashes and mood swings, among other things. Yes, menopause can be a rollercoaster of emotions and physical symptoms.

What are the most common complaints during menopause? And more importantly: what can you do about it? We ask gynecologists Corla Vredevoogd and Mary Beshay of the Haaglanden Medical Center.

Different phases of transition

Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life characterized by hormonal changes and the end of the menstrual cycle. The transition process can take several years and takes place in several phases:

Premenopause – Premenopause is the period before menstrual periods start to change. ‘It is a misconception that you cannot experience menopausal symptoms if you still have regular periods. This is indeed possible, because hormone levels already change before the menstrual cycle changes,” says Vredevoogd. Some women have difficulty sleeping, others have tense breasts or do not feel comfortable in their own skin. Read all about the last fertile phase of your life here.

Perimenopause – Your periods start to change, because ovarian function and the production of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone decrease. This may cause you to experience typical menopausal symptoms that are listed below. You can read everything about perimenopause here.

Menopause – Menopause is defined as the time when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. This marks the end of a woman’s fertile phase and the beginning of postmenopause.

Postmenopause – After menopause, the woman enters the postmenopausal phase. This can take many years. During postmenopause, some menopausal symptoms may decrease, while other symptoms may become worse. The new health challenges may also be related to aging. From complaints to physical changes: this is postmenopause.

What are the complaints associated with menopause?

During menopause, women experience a wide range of physical and emotional complaints due to hormonal changes in their bodies. Research shows that these are the most common menopausal complaints:


As many as 80 percent of women experience anxiety during menopause. Anxiety is therefore the most common symptom during menopause and can have a significant impact on the well-being of women at this stage of their lives. This anxiety can manifest itself in different ways, ranging from mild nervousness to severe panic attacks.

During menopause, women often experience hormonal fluctuations, especially a decrease in estrogen. These hormonal changes can affect the nervous system and lead to feelings of fear and anxiety. In addition, other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia and mood swings, can contribute to the feeling of anxiety.


A total of 71.5 percent of women experience physical and mental exhaustion during menopause. Many women suffer from fatigue due to sleep problems, hormonal fluctuations and other physical symptoms. It is important to get enough rest and prioritize exercise self-care so that you get some energy again, such as walking, yoga and relaxation exercises.

Sleep problems

Many women (61.2 percent) experience sleep problems during menopause, often due to nighttime hot flashes, but also due to hormonal changes that can affect sleep quality. It is important to maintain good sleep hygiene, such as creating a restful sleep environment and establishing a regular sleep schedule. In some cases, consulting a doctor may be helpful to address sleep problems.

Irritability and mood swings

Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can lead to mood changes, such as irritability. About 60 percent of women suffer from this around menopause. It is essential to take enough time for yourself. For example, exercise regularly, eat healthy food and seek social support. Also, talk to a trusted friend or healthcare professional to express your emotions.

Hot flashes and night sweats

Hot flashes and night sweats are said to be the most common symptoms during pregnancy, but according to the study, these symptoms were reported by ‘only’ 36.7 percent of participants. These sudden feelings of heat, on the other hand, can lead to excessive sweating and discomfort.

‘Some women actually get very cold. That is also an expression that the body thermostat is disrupted,’ says Beshay. ‘What can help against hot flashes is good sleep hygiene. Ensure relaxation before going to sleep, limit screen time to 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, use the bedroom only for sleeping, go to bed at the same time every day and get up at the same time every day and avoid sugars, alcohol and caffeine before bedtime.’ You can find more tips against hot flashes here.

Joint and muscle discomfort

Joint and muscle discomfort are also common complaints that women may experience during menopause. “Estrogen acts as a builder of collagen, helping it maintain the flexibility of your tendons, joints, and muscles,” says Beshay. When estrogen levels start to drop during menopause, your joints can become more susceptible to inflammation and wear and tear. Symptoms can range from mild pain and stiffness to more severe joint pain and muscle cramps.

It is important to continue to exercise sufficiently, such as activities such as yoga or walking. Swimming is also a nice form of exercise for joint pain. In addition, various nutrients can contribute to reducing joint pain (during menopause), such as omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin D.

Furthermore, according to Beshay and Vredevoogd, the following symptoms can also occur during menopause:

Weight gain

Hormonal changes during menopause can lead to changes in body composition. ‘During menopause your metabolism slows down. Your muscle mass also decreases and fat takes its place,” says Beshay. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise (both cardio and strength training) and a balanced diet to manage weight gain and support the maintenance of muscle mass.

Vaginal dryness and lower libido

‘The shortage of estrogens can also cause vaginal dryness,’ says Vredevoogd. It is important to communicate openly with your partner about your needs and concerns. Also when it comes to medical treatments that can help relieve (vaginal) symptoms.

Skin changes

Hormonal changes during menopause can also lead to changes in the skin, including dryness, loss of elasticity and wrinkling. It is important to maintain a good skin care routine, including hydration, sun protection and avoiding harmful habits such as smoking.

What can you do about menopausal complaints?

“It is no longer contemporary to think that these menopausal complaints are part of it,” says Vredevoogd. According to her, there are numerous methods you can try to relieve these complaints. Moreover, it is completely normal to seek help when the complaints affect the quality of your life. ‘Talk to others about your symptoms, not only your GP, but also the company doctor and your employer.’

What else can help? Well, adopting a healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding harmful habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can help reduce symptoms and promote a healthy lifestyle. In addition, women may want to consider using hormone therapy and other medical treatments with their doctor. Vredevoogd: ‘Really sound the alarm if the complaints are affecting the quality of your life, for example because you can no longer do your job properly. Or that you have a short fuse, which really ruins the atmosphere at home.’

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Corla Vredevoogd is a passionate gynecologist who passionately guides pregnant women and their partners during pregnancy and childbirth at the Haaglanden Medical Center. She also likes to share her expertise about the menstrual cycle and menopause. Her professional background includes training at Leiden University, followed by specialization at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), HMC Bronovo.


Mary Beshay is an all-round gynecologist who sees women at the Haaglanden Medical Center (HMC) with all kinds of gynecological help questions such as cycle disorders, abnormalities of the vulva and cervix, contraception and menopause. Her professional background includes training at Leiden University, followed by specialization at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), HagaZiekenhuis with differentiation Menopause at the OLVG in Amsterdam.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: common complaints menopause


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