Complete Symptom Guide to Menopause Itchy Skin | Stella

Menopause itchy skin

 

Prickly itchy skin? Menopause is time when many symptoms appear and yet this is not the first symptom that springs to mind. However, this is a common and inconvenient problem that affects many women as they age. Read on to find out more about menopause itchy skin causes and treatments.

ITCHINESS DEFINITION

An annoying and irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch the affected area. Sometimes it is caused by heat extremes or dry, irritated or cracked skin.

If you are spending your days frustrated by your menopause symptoms… download Stella.

GENERAL ITCHING

Menopause and itchy skin can affect many parts of the body, including your vagina and genital area. Fluctuating hormone levels can thin the skin and make it prone to dryness and itching.

Often the urge to itch can happen at night, a time when you can become very aware of skin sensations. It can be a real sleep thief.

Read more about the stages of menopause.

MENOPAUSE VULVAR IRRITATION

Allergic reaction

Have you started using new detergents, body products, condoms, sanitary wear, perfume or clothing? It is possible they are irritating your skin. If you have a flare up, talk to your doctor. 

Vaginal itching

It is common to experience dryness, intense itching or discomfort around the vulva and vagina at the time of menopause. This is often part of a condition called atrophic vaginitis, or thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls. Women describe it as burning, feeling like sandpaper and it can be extremely uncomfortable. Treatment that helps include oestrogen vaginal creams. Talk to your doctor to make sure it isn’t a yeast infection.

Vulvar pruritus

This condition is when you have an itchy vulva and it can be caused by dry, thinner skin during menopause. Talk to your doctor in case it is a viral infection and needs treatment.

Lichen Sclerosus

This chronic skin condition thins your skin, making it more prone to itching. It may even erupt in painful blisters or you may notice pain during sex. It can be genetic or linked to hormonal changes. Talk to your doctor about treatment, such as steroids.

If you have itching or discomfort in your vagina or vulva, you will find more useful information in our blog.

Read more about the stages of menopause or about sleep issues and skin changes in our symptoms library.

MOST COMMONLY AFFECTED AREAS

Chest

Back

Face and neck

Arms and legs

HOW CAN YOU REDUCE ITCHY SKIN?

  • Use an unperfumed moisturiser every day, ideally after bathing and use a laundry detergent for sensitive skin. Avoid products with a high pH
  • Avoid scratching your skin if possible – try tapping or patting instead. Keep your nails short to avoid causing any damage by scratching
  • Wear loose, light clothing to avoid overheating and try not to wear synthetic fibres or tight clothes
  • Avoid extremes of heat and cold, try using humidifiers or air conditioners
  • Avoid spending too long in water, including hot baths, swimming pools and jacuzzis

CAN HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY HELP?

Some women find that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps if the itch is not soothed by simple measures like those mentioned above, or if it becomes too disruptive.

Studies have shown that HRT use can increase the levels of both skin hydration and skin surface lipids (a naturally-occurring layer of oils that keep the skin hydrated).

HRT has also been shown to increase the amount of collagen in the skin.

Although it can be very useful, HRT is not suitable for everyone. Speak to your doctor if you would like to find out more about the best treatment for you. Find out more about the HRT debate.

ITCHY SKIN MENOPAUSE

The ‘female’ hormone oestrogen has many functions throughout the body, including in the skin.

The high levels of oestrogen seen in younger women help to keep the skin healthy and plump by stimulating the production of both collagen and the natural oils which help the skin to retain moisture.

However at menopause, your body begins to produce much less oestrogen, resulting in a lower production of both collagen and natural oils. This can cause excessive dryness, which in turn leads to itching.

Other skin changes seen after menopause include thinning, poor wound healing, loss of elasticity and fragility.

Although general itchiness can happen purely due to menopausal changes, there are many other possible causes. If you have any itching that persists for more than a few days, it is important to check in with your doctor. They may want to do some further tests to rule out any underlying issues.

You should seek a medical review urgently if you have general itching as well as:

  • A yellowish tinge to your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Lip, tongue or facial swelling, tightness in the chest or throat, or difficulty breathing
  • If you feel otherwise unwell or concerned
I was astonished that I didn’t know vaginal dryness was part of perimenopause”

Kwavi

DISCOVER MORE

Lubricants helped my vaginal dryness during perimenopause. Read more

My search for treatment to relieve my vaginal atrophy. Read more

Tips for managing weird skin sensations, including prickly skin. Read more

GET SUPPORT TODAY!

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