You're Not a Klutz - It's Just Menopause!

Do you find that since the onset of menopause symptoms you are

  • dropping things more often?
  • spilling things more often?
  • bumping in to things more often?
  • knocking things over more often?
  • more accident prone?

This is not unusual. Many women report that they have become more clumsy during menopause or even that they have become clumsy for the first time in their lives during menopause.

The culprit is changing hormone levels during perimenopause. Changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause can cause a loss of coordination, poor concentration and clumsiness. You may feel more accident prone.

Clumsiness as a PMS symptom

Being clumsy during menopause and clumsiness as a PMS symptom are related. Clumsiness is widely recognized as a common PMS symptom. PMS is the name for a group of physical and emotional symptoms that start 7 to 14 days before a menstrual period begins. The symptoms usually resolve within a few days after bleeding starts.

Physical symptoms of PMS may include

Notice that many of the symptoms of PMS are also symptoms of menopause. It would be more accurate to say that they are symptoms of perimenopause. Most of these symptoms disappear in postmenopause.

There is a link between clumsiness during menopause and clumsiness as a PMS symptom prior to perimenopause. Clumsiness, as a PMS symptom prior to perimenopause, is linked to low levels of estrogen and progesterone at a certain point during the menstrual cycleStarting 14 days before the beginning of a period, estrogen and progesterone levels begin to fall. In the last 7 days before a period they fall steeply. On the first day of a period, they are at rock bottom and then they start to rise.

Most women who experience clumsiness as a PMS symptom prior to perimenopause experience it 7-10 days before their period. Once they get their period, the clumsiness disappears.

What makes you clumsy during menopause?

Just as falling estrogen and progesterone levels is the cause of clumsiness prior to perimenopause, they are also what causes women to be clumsy during menopause.

As I said earlier, clumsiness occurs during the perimenopause phases of menopause; however estrogen and progesterone behave differently during perimenopause than they do prior to it. Generally speaking, estrogen levels fall during perimenopause. But the levels fluctuate. That means that it goes up and down. Progesterone levels fall consistently and continuously during perimenopause.

During the early phases of perimenopause, estrogen levels, though fluctuating, are generally higher than are prior to perimenopause. In the later phases of perimenopause estrogen levels are falling toward their permanently low levels in postmenopause.

So in the early phases of perimenopause, the fluctuations in the levels of estrogen occur within a range that is higher than the levels of estrogen prior to menopause. But as they fluctuate, by definition there are falling levels of estrogen as well as rising levels of estrogen, and progesterone levels are falling. In the later phases of perimenopause both estrogen and progesterone levels are consistently falling.

No studies have been done yet to determine during which phases of perimenopause clumsiness is most prevalent; however, the conditions of estrogen and progesterone in the later phases of perimenopause most resemble what happens to these hormones during the menstrual cycle prior to perimenopause. It is likely therefore that the later phases of perimenopause are when a woman may be most prone to increased clumsiness. During the early phases of perimenopause estrogen levels do fall while fluctuating at high levels; combined with the progesterone levels falling continuously, conditions are right to cause clumsiness as well.

Most women don't find their clumsiness during perimenopause to be debilitating; in fact many women find it somewhat amusing - but they are often surprised to learn that it is yet another symptom of menopause!

This post is reproduced with the permission of Menopause Matters.


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