Menopause Symptoms: 5 Early Signs You Are in Menopause (And What You Can Do About It)

Think you’re experiencing menopause? Here are 5 early signs and symptoms of menopause and what you can do about it.

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When you stop experiencing periods for several cycles, your body could be entering a new phase – menopause. But without undergoing a test, how can you tell if you’re in menopause or peri-menopause?

In this article, we rounded up 5 most distinctive signs of menopause and what you can do about it based on scientific research.

5 Signs Your Body Could Be Entering Menopause

Symptom 1. You Stop Having Periods

If you experience periods regularly but you’re starting to miss them, and before you know it, it’s been 6-12 months since you experienced one, then you’re likely entering menopause. Most women recognize that they’re in menopause when they stop periods for 12 months1.

Symptom 2. You Gain Weight Unexpectedly

Weight Gain menopause

You made no changes to your diet and you’re still working out twice a week. But you realized that you can no longer fit into your favorite pair of jeans and that dress that used to look perfect on you now looks a little too small.

Weight gain can occur during menopause due to hormonal changes2. Estrogen, the primary female hormone, declines during menopause. But estrogen also promotes muscle mass, and the decline in estrogen levels means that there is less muscle mass, which in turn affects metabolism.

Declining Metabolism women

Metabolism is just another word to describe how your body uses energy. A slower metabolism means that your body is more likely to conserve energy and store it as fats.

Unexpected weight gain is one of the most common reasons why women over 40 seek remedies to address them.

(Did you know that lower estrogen levels can also cause your body to deposit more fats in your abdomen or belly area compared to the rest of your body? This explains why some women experience what they call the “Menopause Belly”3!)

Symptom 3. You Feel Bloated

If you experience more frequent bloating especially after meals, it’s completely normal.

When your body enters menopause, estrogen levels fluctuate. When it rises, your body retains more water and it can lead to bloating4.

Symptom 4. Hot Flashes/Flushes Hit You

You experience a sudden feeling of warmth spreading through your chest, neck, and face. This can happen anywhere from once to dozens of times a day in the worst cases5.

The sudden rush of warmth can feel deeply uncomfortable for some women. This also happens because the decline in estrogen levels causes your body’s “thermostat” (hypothalamus) to become more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature and “overcorrect” when the thermostat thinks your body is too warm, causing a chain of events that make you experience a hot flash.

It’s useful to note that hot flashes are not exclusively due to menopause, although it is most commonly associated with menopause.

Like unexpected weight gain, hot flashes can be unbearable and force many women to seek remedies to address them.

Symptom 5. You Get In Bed Much Earlier Than Usual

woman tired

Menopause fatigue is real.

According to Dr. Amy Beckley6, “Estrogen is responsible for an increase in cortisol and testosterone levels, which naturally increase energy levels.”. A decline in estrogen levels is therefore associated with a decline in energy levels.

In some anecdotal accounts, women entering menopause say that they would get in bed as early as 7pm.

Bonus Symptom. You Went Through Hysterectomy (And Entered “Surgical” Menopause)

If you have a total or radical hysterectomy that removes your ovaries, you'll experience the menopause immediately after your operation, regardless of your age. This is known as a surgical menopause9.

So if you underwent hysterectomy, your body automatically enters menopause and you could be experiencing all of the symptoms mentioned above, especially weight gain10.

Many women feel like their ‘glory days' are over the moment menopause hits. Thankfully, that's not true. 

There are several options that women can turn to for relief from the hellish symptoms.

Your options

HRT

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) — Most menopausal symptoms result from a rapid decline in the hormone estrogen. HRT reintroduces estrogen through pills or topical applications. But here's what doctors won't tell you – HRT is expensive and it is not covered by many insurance plans. Studies also show11, 12 HRT increases risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer.

Pharmaceutical approaches — Doctors may prescribe medications for certain symptoms such as depression, hot-flashes, restlessness, anxiety, and osteoporosis. But pharmaceuticals come with their own side-effects and risks and, as the saying goes, sometimes “the treatment is worse than the symptoms.”

probiotics opened

Nutritional Supplements — Several all-natural supplements are available to get you looking and feeling your post 40 best. Taking the right supplement daily can support weight management, decrease hot flashes, aid sleep, improve mood, and support healthy bones — naturally. 

However, not all menopause supplements work the same. Different formulas approach symptoms differently. With so many choices, we wanted to know which approach or combination of natural ingredients works best. 

Our team independently reviewed 29 menopause relief brands using data from independent consumer testing laboratories, Labdoor and ConsumerLab, combined with our internal ratings system to determine the top 5 menopause supplements for women over 40. These brands include some of the brands mentioned below and popular brands like Amberen, Estroven, Estrovera, Menofit, Meno Vitamins, Estradiol, NOW, Noom, Menoquil, Leanbean, and more.

We discovered there's only ONE thing that makes or ‘breaks' a menopause supplement – its blend of ingredients.

Here are some effective ingredients in menopause supplements & we'll tell you which are the ‘must-haves' and which you should avoid.

Effective Natural Ingredients In Menopause Supplements

Probiotics

gut health woman

More than half of the roughly 69 trillion cells in your body are microbial13. Tiny living organisms populate your entire body but are especially prevalent in the gut, vagina, colon, and gastrointestinal tract. Microbial cells regulate and support nearly every vital function including vaginal health, weight management, mood, blood pressure (hot flashes), and bone density. 

The bad news? Hormonal imbalance during menopause can cause harmful bacteria overgrowth leading to increased frequency and intensity of hot flashes, bloating, joint pain and weight gain. 

Seeding your microbiome with high doses of healthy microorganisms restores balance and improves overall health. When you restore cell function, symptoms lessen. You look and feel better because you are literally “healthier.”

Soybeans and Soy Isoflavone 

Soy has mild estrogenic effects. A systematic review of 19 clinical trials showed soy reduced the severity of hot flashes 11%-26%14. Another study found that while soy was beneficial to hot flashes, time to experience benefits ranged from several weeks to months15. Notably, reviewers of the systematic clinical trial review are affiliated with the Soy Nutrition Institute and could have vested interest14. Soy may help with hot flashes but doesn’t seem to have any effect on other menopausal symptoms like weight gain and reduced bone density.

Moringa Leaf

Moringa leaves

Known as the “Miracle Tree,” and largely unknown in the west, the moringa tree is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Moringa leaf contains a host of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and micronutrients. Besides powerful antioxidant effects and improving cellular function, moringa leaf boosts energy and metabolism by lowering blood glucose levels16. Moringa leaf is especially effective at combating menopausal weight gain and promoting stable moods. 

Two large clinical studies confirm moringa leaf’s weight loss benefits. One 8 week study found subjects taking a combination of moringa, turmeric, and curry lost 6.4 pounds compared with the placebo group17. Another study reported weight loss of 9.9 pounds compared with the placebo group18. Moringa leaf has also shown promise in reducing hot flashes and improving sleep19.

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is a traditional medicine with a long history of use among Native Americans and European settlers for treating menstrual irregularities, musculoskeletal pain, and women’s reproductive issues. And although it has been widely studied for menopause relief over 70 years, no studies ever reported a conclusive mechanism of action20

One study of 351, 45-55 year old women reported black cohosh had no effect on reducing hot flashes or night sweats compared with the placebo group. In fact, after 12 months, women taking a black cohosh multi-botanical formula with soy foods reported a significant increase in symptom intensity20.

Simply put: Black Cohosh may not be as effective in cooling hot flashes as advertised.

Dong Quai 

Known as the “Female Ginseng,” dong quai is a Chinese traditional medicine used for thousands of years for treating women’s health issues. Clinical studies are mixed with no conclusive outcomes. One study observed no statistically significant reduction in hot flashes21

Another reported a 73% decrease in hot flash symptoms at three months. Mount Sinai medical center warns women with bloating, digestive problems, or with higher risk of cancer should avoid dong quai. It may cause rashes and women on blood thinners or hormone therapies should avoid dong quai.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are beneficial in maintaining health. The best source of vitamins and minerals is a healthy diet. However, it’s important to note that some of the vitamins and minerals beneficial to women over 4022 are difficult to get through dieting. These include vitamin D, omega-3, vitamin K, magnesium, vitamin B2, B6, B12, and iodine. Vitamins and minerals maintain bone density, prevent thinning hair, boost cognition, blood flow, immunity, and metabolism. Magnesium is especially effective at reducing the severity of hot flashes. 

Top 5 Menopause & Perimenopause Supplements for Women

#1. Provitalize

by: Better Body Co.

first choice Provitalize

Why we like Provitalize

Provitalize is the only probiotic in our list that contains all 3 of the best strains for women experiencing menopause.  It’s uniquely marketed as a thermogenic probiotic with fat-burning & metabolism-boosting properties. According to their official website, over 1,200,000 women have shed the stubborn weight with just two capsules a day. The thousands of glowing reviews on Amazon, Trustpilot & Shopify are undeniable proof that Provitalize is worthy of our top spot.

In addition to probiotics, Provitalize contains a herbal blend with demonstrated benefits for premenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal women including turmeric root extract, moringa leaf extract, and curry leaf extract. Together these have been shown to combat inflammation and bloating, decrease hot flashes, joint pain, and support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Bioperene (black pepper extract) and sunflower lecithin are shown to enhance absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial properties of herbal formulas.

Pros

  • FDA, GMP, and Certified Organic
  • Vegan, keto, paleo friendly
  • 100% natural, safe ingredients
  • Thermogenic herbal assisted probiotic formula
  • 12,989 Amazon reviewers report 84% positive results
  • 4.1 Star Trustpilot rating
  • 62 Billion CFU
  • Clinically proven probiotic strains
  • Vegan DR CapsTM ensure the probiotics reach your gut safely
  • Independently verified by Eurofins Testing Laboratory
  • 90 day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free trial
  • <10% report no weight loss

#2. **Best Value** Slim Gut Bundle (Provitalize + Previtalize)

By: Better Body Co

Provitalize and Previtalize 2

Want 50% faster visible weight results from Provitalize? Then the Slim Gut Bundle is for you. This holistic bundle combines the weight-management powers of Provitalize with ‘super fiber’ prebiotics in Previtalize.

The probiotics in Provitalize feed on these ‘super fibers’ to multiply faster in the gut. This means women can see faster visible results such as reduction of belly fat & cravings.

These healthy fibers include fructooligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharides, and inulin. Previtalize also aids digestion and stabilizes mood naturally. 

We listed the Slim Gut Bundle 2nd only because it costs more than Provitalize alone. Other than that, we believe it’s the best-value-for-money bundle in the market right now.

Pros

  • FDA, GMP, and Certified Organic
  • Vegan, keto, paleo friendly
  • 100% natural, safe ingredients
  • Thermogenic herbal assisted probiotic formula
  • 12,989 Amazon reviewers report 84% positive results
  • 4 Star Trustpilot rating
  • 62 Billion CFU
  • Clinically proven probiotic strains
  • Clinically studied prebiotics
  • Vegan DR CapsTM ensure the probiotics reach your gut safely
  • Independently verified by Eurofins Testing Laboratory
  • 90 day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free trial
  • Slightly more expensive than Provitalize alone.

#3. Hormone Harmony

By: Happy Mammoth

hormone harmony product

Hormone Harmony is marketed as the world’s first ‘intelligent’ hormone balancing system, but the claim is not verified by the FDA. It is also one of the few products in the market manufactured outside of the USA. 

We ranked Hormone Harmony third because although many women are satisfied with the decreased severity of hot flashes, night sweats, and overall mood stabilization, there was a reported incidence of toxicity from excessive Vitamin B6 and several reported incidents of issues with the customer service and product delivery.

Furthermore, none of the FAQs on the individual supplement pages included any information about potential allergies or side effects when using Happy Mammoth’s supplements.

Pros

  • 60 day money back guarantee
  • Manufactured in TGA certified facilities
  • Vegan-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and free of GMOs, soy, corn, and added sugars
  • Perpetually discounted from A$89 to A$79
  • Offers Afterpay
  • Rated 4.7 stars on their website

Cons

  • No mention of potential allergies or side effect in the FAQs
  • Refund policy states that it is the customers’ responsibility to research the ingredients for potential allergies
  • Proprietary formula does not reveal individual ingredient quantities
  • Rated 3.1 by customers on ProductReview.com.au (Australia’s version of TrustPilot)

#4. Amberen

amberen menopause

By: Amberen

Amberen is a well established brand available at most major retailers. Amberen is a clinically studied succinate based formula with a long history. Amberen also contains magnesium which has been shown to be beneficial in hot flash relief. 
We ranked Amberen fourth because although many women are satisfied with the decreased severity of hot flashes night sweats, and overall mood stabilization, Amberen has no reported effectiveness at combating menopausal weight gain compared with Provitalize and/or the Slim Gut Bundle.

Pros

  • 60 day money back guarantee
  • Made in the USA
  • 64% five-star Amazon ratings
  • Complies with FDA regulations
  • Clinically tested

Cons

  • Proprietary formula does not reveal individual ingredient quantities
  • Contains MSG
  • Not vegan
  • No third-party verification

#5. Meno Vitamin

By: O Positiv

meno opositiv menopause supplement vitamins

MENO Vitamin is a relatively new entrant in the menopause category. It is thought of as a traditional menopause relief supplement reinvented with fresh packaging and identity.

It uses common ingredients known to address some menopause symptoms, such as ashwagandha and black cohosh. We ranked it #5 as it helps with sleep, mood, and hot flashes.

According to the website, it also comes with a 60-day “happiness” guarantee. It’s not clear if this refers to a money back guarantee, but there is some level of assurance.

Pros

  • Uses popular ingredients for multi-menopause symptoms relief such as black cohosh
  • Includes vitamins D3 & B6 which helps with joint health and immunity support
  • Nice packaging
  • Made by a cGMP manufacturer in the USA
  • Hormone-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly
  • 60-day “happiness” guarantee

Cons

  • A bit pricey for the type of ingredients used
  • Relatively new in the market so it does not have substantial evidence of efficacy among customers yet (<100 customer reviews on their website as of this writing)

Summary

If you’re experiencing more than 3 of these 5 symptoms – missed periods for 6-12 months, unexpected weight gain, more frequent bloating, hot flashes, mood imbalance, low energy, joint pain – it’s likely that your body has entered the early phases of menopause.

One of the most common treatments that women consider is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), but the risks are well-documented and not recommended for everyone.

Instead of HRT, consider taking natural supplements containing clinically studied herbs and ingredients that address the root cause of menopause symptoms. This includes specific probiotic strains, phytoestrogens, and other ingredients. However, it is important to know that natural supplements are not medication and they often do not produce results right away. A common observation across all the products recommended today is that they can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days for the majority of women to see results.

If you’re undecided, consider the #1 menopause supplement recommended for women entering perimenopause and menopause. Based on our research, it has the most compelling evidence of customer success among over one million women worldwide, so it gives us a certain level of confidence to recommend it to our readers.

summary provitalize recommended
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  19. National Institutes of Health, Black Cohosh Factsheet, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh-HealthProfessional/, Oct 2022
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Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, earned her masters degree in Nutrition and Foods from the University of Georgia. She's a Registered Dietitian at Morrison Healthcare and has a strong passion in helping people improve their wellness!

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