Can Menopause Symptoms Mimic Pregnancy?
In some ways, the symptoms of menopause can mimic pregnancy. Menopause and pregnancy, while obviously two very different conditions, do share some common signs. However, menopause and pregnancy do have some symptoms which are not in common, and by looking for these symptoms you can be certain whether you are experiencing one or the other.
The most obvious symptom that menopause and pregnancy have in common is a missing period. During pregnancy, a woman does not have a period. She may experience some vaginal bleeding or spotting, but she will not have a period in the same way that she did before she was pregnant. Likewise, menopause signals the ending of the time that a woman will have a period. It is important to note, however, that menopause generally takes some time to set in. For many women who are going through menopause, they may only miss one or two periods before having another period. Still, a missing period is one of the biggest ways in which menopause can mimic pregnancy.
Another way that menopause can mimic pregnancy is in terms of mood. It is not uncommon for a pregnant woman to experience mood swings or depression. This is due, primarily, to the changing levels of hormones in the pregnant woman’s body. Likewise, the hormones in the body of a woman who is going through menopause can also cause mood swings or depression. There is some evidence, however, that mood swings for a woman who is going through menopause may not be due to hormone levels, but rather to the disturbed sleep patters that often accompany menopause due to night sweats and hot flashes.
While a pregnant woman certainly can have night sweats or hot flashes, they are much less likely to occur in a pregnant woman than they are in a woman going through menopause. In the same respect, while a woman going through menopause might experience some nausea from time to time, this nausea very rarely will mimic the morning sickness that can accompany pregnancy.
If you are having symptoms that seem as though they could fit either pregnancy or menopause, you should speak with your health care provider. A simple pregnancy test can often rule out (or rule in) pregnancy as the cause of those symptoms.