Women experience many symptoms during menopause, from hot flushes to headaches and joint pain, but itchy skin can be one of the most troublesome side effects of all.
During menopause, women no longer produce eggs, their menstrual cycles end and their oestrogen levels decline.
When oestrogen levels drop during menopause, the production of skin collagen decreases, leading to dry, itchy patches of skin. Low oestrogen also limits the body's ability to retain moisture and produce natural skin oils.
The T-zone of the face and the elbows are usually the first places where menopausal women notice dry, itchy skin. Other prime locations are the back, chest, limbs and neck. Aside from red, flaky patches, some women will even experience tingling or a crawling sensation along with the itching.
Skin changes may develop years before menopause as the body prepares to end the menstrual cycle.
The best way to fight itchy skin during menopause is to drink lots of water and eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, walnuts, flaxseed and soy. Vitamin B is also essential to good skin. Other tips are to avoid hot showers, use mild soaps and apply mineral oil or petroleum jelly after showering to retain skin moisture.
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