It’s typical that women have at least some knowledge of what to expect before getting their first period, having sex for the first time, and having a baby. However, preparation for menopause, a rite of passage every woman will experience, is practically non-existent. Most women report being caught off guard and surprised by the physical and emotional changes. In fact, it’s common for women to question whether a symptom is related to menopause or something else.
In the early stages of perimenopause, before your periods become irregular, it can be hard to sort out what’s menopause-related and what’s not. With at least 34 symptoms associated with menopause, and conditions like a thyroid problem with similar symptoms, it’s easy to see why there’s so much confusion. Classic symptoms like hot flashes, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness and low libido grab the spotlight since they are the most frequent symptoms women experience. However, that leaves 30 other symptoms, many of which women are unaware. Which one’s catch women most off guard? Read on for my pick of the top five.