Itchy Skin and MenopauseMenopause Itchy Skin

While most women are familiar with the common menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, many are unaware of menopausal effects on the skin. Itchy skin is experience by many women during the menopausal transition. Skin problems during menopause are closely linked with hormonal changes characteristic of this natural period of change.

Skin changes can begin as early as perimenopause, or the time leading up to the cessation of menstrual periods, which can range from three to ten years. Other women may experience skin changes after menopause.

About Itchy Skin in Menopause

Menopause can often trigger skin changes leading to itchy skin. Itchy skin, medically known as pruritis, can be a major life disruption, especially if it causes significant discomfort and/ or disrupts sleep.

Around the menopausal time, many women also experience acne, thinning skin, wrinkles and skin pigment changes.
Related to pruritis, paresthesia can also afflict women during the menopausal transition. An abnormal skin condition affecting touch sensation, paresthesia is defined as sensations of numbness, “pins and needles,” tingling, and/or pricking of the skin.

A small percentage of menopausal women report itchy skin symptoms of formication, a specific type of paresthesia, characterized by creepy, crawling sensations on the skin. People with formication have the phantom sensation of ants or other insects crawling on their skin.

Symptoms of Itchy Skin

Women who develop itchy skin during menopause can experience symptoms in different ways. Many women report that the elbows and the T-zone of the face are the first places where itchy skin develops. Other women report that certain areas of the skin are particularly dry and itchy, such as the limbs, chest, neck, or the back.
Even the nails can be affected by itchy skin in menopause.

Causes of Itchy Skin

Hormonal Causes

During menopause, the most common underlying cause of itchy skin is hormonal change. As the body prepares for the cessation of menstruation and egg development during perimenopause, levels of estrogen in the body also fluctuate and eventually begin a steady decline.Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin. For example, estrogen is responsible for stimulating the production of skin collagen, a fibrous protein that provides strength, resilience, and support to the skin and other tissues.

Acne and Menopause

Some women develop acne during menopause, especially those who had acne in adolescence. Increases in androgen levels during menopause are thought to increase the risk of acne during menopause.
Adult acne often affects the lower face and rarely responds to teen acne treatments.

As estrogen production diminishes around the time of menopause, dry itchy skin becomes a very common symptom.
The decline in skin thickness and collagen production appears to be most rapid in the years immediately preceding menopause.

Lowered estrogen levels also decrease the body’s ability to retain moisture and slow down the body’s production of natural skin oils, which also contributes to itchy skin.

Other Rare Causes of Itchy Skin

While hormonal changes are the most common cause of itchy skin around the time of menopause, other medical conditions can be responsible for itchy skin. While these are rare causes, they are important to be aware of, particularly in cases where itchy skin is accompanied by other unexplained symptoms.

Women concerned about the causes of itchy skin and those who experience other worrisome symptoms are advised to speak with a qualified dermatologist or other medical professional. Fortunately, itchy skin in menopause can often be successfully managed with self care and natural treatments.

Medical Causes of Itchy Skin

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Fungal Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Skin cancer
  • Vitamin Deficiencies
  • Herpes
  • Drug side effects
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal

Treatment of Itchy Skin

Treating itchy skin in menopause often requires a number of self care techniques. Most doctors advise against invasive and risky medical or hormonal treatments for itchy skin during menopause. However, many experts recommend that women combine lifestyle changes with natural treatments, which are often safe and effective in providing itchy skin relief.

Self Care for Itchy Skin

  • Good diet: Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as salmon, walnuts, fortified eggs, sardines, flaxseed, and soy. Adequate vitamin B intake is also crucial to skin health.
  • Increase water intake: This will help to hydrate the skin from the inside out.
  • Avoid hot showers: Because hot water can be harsh and drying, experts advise taking shorter showers using warm water.
  • Moisturize after showers: Mineral oil and petroleum jelly are both excellent and inexpensive skin moisturizers
  • Use gentle, non-irritating soaps.
  • Use a quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Avoid other irritants: Avoiding smoke, excess sun exposure, stress, and lack of sleep can also help to manage itchy skin.

Natural Treatment for Itchy Skin

While these self-care measures can help a woman manage itchy skin during menopause, they alone are unable to get to the root cause of itchy skin during menopause: hormonal imbalance. Fortunately, natural supplements can address this primary problem of hormonal imbalance, helping a woman to treat itchy skin from the inside out. Alternative
treatments involve little or no risk and are often simple to use.

Treatment for Menopausal Symptoms: