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One of the creepiest feelings associated with menopause, without a doubt, is skin crawling. In fact, during menopause, a number of skin/nerve related conditions might be experienced, including itchy or dry skin, tingling feelings, and skin sensitivity. These conditions are all normal, but there are also a number of treatments available for menopausal women who are experiencing pain or problems with their skin.
Flashback for a moment—probably around the time you were in middle school. Whether you were a member of the cheerleading squad or you spent most of your time in the library matters not; most girls this age battle a common problem: acne. It is no coincidences that this trouble starts to occur around the time girls first start menstruating. When this begins, the hormones in a young girl’s body are rapidly changing, and the skin reacts in a somewhat negative way. Hormone levels in an adult woman’s body are no different. As menopause begins, your skin reacts to the changing levels in your body, and the results can be sometimes unpleasant.
The prickly crawling feeling that many women experience is called formication. Women usually experience this one to two years after their last period and during the end of perimenopause and the beginning of menopause. While doctors are still largely unsure of its cause, formication goes away on its own in a relatively short period of time for most women. Many speculate that the cause of this is an overworked, hot liver, which happens when your hormones are changing rapidly, as they are at the onset of menopause.
However, itchy, dry, sensitive skin can last much longer and become painful if it goes untreated. For treatment, see a dermatologist. Often times, the same remedies that worked when you were a teenager also work now—moisturizing your skin, washing sensitive areas like your face very gently and with special washes, using prescription acne medications, washing your pillowcases often, and using less oily makeup.
Unlike formication and sensitive skin, tingling in the extremities might be a cause to worry. Although many menopausal women experience tingling in their feet, hands, legs, and arms, they can also be signs of more serious problems, like diabetes, vitamin deficiency, depletion of calcium, depletion of potassium, or blood vessel/circulation problems. Be safe—always see a doctor if you experience the tingling for an expended period of time.
Seeing a doctor is simply your best bet in the end for any type of menopausal problem, skin related or not. He or she can suggest a number of treatment options, including medication, natural remedies, therapy, diet change, exercise programs, and alternative treatment options. Testing for menopause is difficult—your hormones during this time period change rapidly from day to day—but what doctors can do is rule out any other medical reasons for the skin problems you are experiencing. Sometimes menopause can be confused with the onset of a serious disease or disorder, so if you have any doubts in your mind, talk to a health care professional about your crawling, dry, itchy, or tingling skin sensations.
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