By Lemetria Whitehurst RN
It’s hard enough to figure out what exactly is happening during menopause, let alone trying to make sense of weird symptoms like itching. This mysterious symptom can be highly uncomfortable and annoying whether you’re experiencing it on your skin, scalp, or even privates. In this blog post, we will explore why women experience itching with menopause more often than usual and look at some solutions for managing skin hypersensitivity during this unique stage of life.
Related: Wondering if you are in menopause – take the quiz
The Different Kinds Of Itching In Menopause
Itching, also called pruritus, during menopause may take different forms:
Amid perimenopause, skin can take a toll. Not only does its elasticity decrease—heightening sensitivity to everyday products such as soap and detergent for some—but it’s also prone to irritation, itchiness and inflammation.
The skin may also feel tingly, prickly, or numb as a result of the itching. This phenomenon is called paresthesia.
Sometimes, the itching sensation can go beyond a minor annoyance, taking hold with such force that life, as usual, is hard to maintain. Severe pruritus has the potential to cause sleeping difficulties and prevent people from engaging in their daily activities.
Other skin changes can also accompany pruritus. Some examples are:
- Skin rash
- Reddened skin
- Dry skin
- Small bumps
Visible skin irritation could indicate something more than a rash or itch. To prevent any underlying problems from slipping through the cracks, it’s always wise to consult your doctor if you’re noticing strange sensations on your skin.
As estrogen levels decrease during menopause or after, vaginal discomfort may emerge or worsen.
Among these changes is an increased incidence of vulvar pruritus (otherwise known as menopause vaginal itching), which can be further exacerbated by dryness, another common symptom experienced during menopause.
The decline in estrogen levels can cause atrophic vaginitis, which results in thinner, drier vaginal tissues than usual. This uncomfortable problem may make sex painful in addition to causing itching or other pain around the vulva area.
Other factors that can cause vaginal itching include:
- Soap or detergent irritation
- Cancers of the vaginal, vulvar, and cervical regions
As you age, taking control of your health matters more than ever. After menopause, it’s still important to remain vigilant since some types of cancer can develop quickly if left unchecked.
Don’t forget that if you experience any vaginal discharge or bleeding post-menopause, don’t wait to take action – schedule an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. By prioritizing your health, medical concerns can be identified before they become more significant issues.
The Best Home Remedies For Menopause Itching
Several home remedies can alleviate the uncomfortable sensations of menopause itching. Applying aloe vera can help soothe the flaky, dry skin, while a bath with chamomile or fennel tea helps to clarify, heal, and protect itchy areas.
Oatmeal baths are also highly recommended – soak in warm oat-filled water for ten minutes to soothe and replenish irritated skin. Additionally, adding liquids like coconut or almond oil into your skincare routine may help lock in moisture.
For even greater benefits, seek out anti-itch lotions containing menthol or calamine, which can provide relief for menopause itching at night by working as mild anesthetics on affected areas of the skin. It’s best to experiment with these remedies until you find what works for your particular situation.
The Best Medical Treatments For Menopause Itching
While itching with menopause is only mild to moderate in most cases, there may be a need for over-the-counter (OTC) products or prescription medications. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)/menopause hormone therapy (MHT) is often the best option for reducing or even eliminating menopause itching for good. Topical creams and lotions can also provide temporary relief, but these can have unwanted side effects if not used as directed by a healthcare professional.
Supplementing these treatments with proper nutrition, hydration, and restful sleep can significantly increase their efficacy, making them all meaningful components in treating menopausal itching with confidence and comfort.
A Few Final Thoughts
All in all, menopause itchiness can be an uncomfortable symptom of this transitional period in a woman’s life. If the itchiness does not improve after trying natural remedies, OTC products, or avoiding certain ingredients, it may be time to see your doctor for a prescription medication.
Additionally, your doctor can assess whether HRT may be suitable for you. Whatever course of action you choose in response to skin itching during menopause, keep in mind that menopausal symptoms tend to get better with time.
Lastly, if you’re looking for support and advice from other women who understand what you’re going through, join Perry today. With thousands of women from around the country talking about real experiences and issues related to menopause, finding help and support has never been easier. Not to mention endless resources on how to find relief from menopausal symptoms and make peace with this natural milestone. Our app is available in the App Store or Google Play Store.
From The Community
Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
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- Bedell, S., Nachtigall, M., & Naftolin, F. (2014). The pros and cons of plant estrogens for menopause. The Journal Of Steroid Biochemistry And Molecular Biology, 139, 225–236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.12.004
- Iqbal, J., & Zaidi, M. (2009). Understanding Estrogen Action During Menopause. Endocrinology, 150(8), 3443–3445. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2009-0449
- Harper-Harrison G, Shanahan MM. Hormone Replacement Therapy. [Updated 2022 Feb 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493191/