Menopause and Hydration


Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a person’s reproductive years. This process usually occurs as a woman approaches her fifties, although it may vary from one woman to another. Despite being a natural process, many women experience various symptoms and changes in the period leading up to menopause (perimenopausal), menopausal, or post-menopausal years.

What is menopause?

Menopause is the end of a woman's reproductive years, marked by the cessation of the menstrual cycle. It is the transition from childbearing years to a period when your ovaries stop functioning, menstruation ceases, and you can no longer bear children.  

The changes that accompany menopause occur when the ovaries' functioning starts to decline. The ovaries are paired reproductive glands in females which produce, store, and release eggs. They are also responsible for producing the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control the female reproductive cycle. Your reproductive cycle, which functions continuously from the onset of puberty, gradually slows down as you increase in age. 

A woman is said to have reached menopause when she has completed a whole year without menstrual bleeding, without the presence of any condition that may cause the bleeding to stop, such as in the case of an overactive thyroid gland, high prolactin levels, radiation, or oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries). 


During the months or years leading up to menopause, many women often experience irregularity in their periods or shorter menstrual cycles. The menstrual cycle may skip a month or a few and then return. 

Women may experience the following symptoms during their menopausal years:

  • Hot flushes are the most common vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. It is a brief sensation of heat that spreads around the body.
  • Vaginal dryness is usually experienced due to decreased moisture and loss of elasticity which often causes pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
  • Osteoporosis is caused by a loss of bone density during the menopausal years. This may cause the bones to become weak and brittle, thereby increasing the chances of getting fractured.
  • Weight gain is often experienced by many women, as their weight tends to increase during menopause due to reduced metabolic rate. 

Other symptoms include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary urgency and incontinence 
  • Night sweats
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Loss of breast fullness
  • Anxiety, irritability, and other mood disorders 
  • Difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness

Feeling dehydrated is common during menopause

The human body is mostly composed of water, and it comprises around 70% in healthy young women. This percentage reduces gradually with age and is about 55% in post-menopausal women. Ageing has a tremendous effect on fluid balance, and with the addition of menopause the effect is even greater. 

Dehydration occurs when the body loses water without being replaced. Dehydration associated with ageing and menopause is mostly caused by a hormone imbalance or a reduction in hormones that normally regulate fluid balance. The side effects of dehydration can worsen menopausal symptoms. Hence, staying hydrated during menopause is very important. 

Hot flushes and night sweats can lead to dehydration

Hot flushes and night sweats make you lose water by sweating. When your body becomes hot, your sweat glands are activated to release moisture in an attempt to cool your body down. It is important to keep hydrated to make up for the water you lose through sweating. 

Estrogen-related water retention

Estrogen plays an important role in water and sodium regulation in the body. However, the impact of estrogen exposure on systems that regulate water and sodium could be especially profound in women in the post-menopausal phase. A study found that the primary cause of estrogen-related water retention was a reduction in sodium and total osmolar excretion. 

Electrolyte loss

Electrolytes are small, slightly charged particles that are essential for human health. They include sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate. Electrolytes help to balance pH levels within the body. They also regulate how much water is retained or pushed out of the cell, which helps to maintain hydration levels and can prevent fluid retention.   

Most people do not feel dehydrated until they've lost about 2% or more body fluid, but your body’s electrolyte levels would have already been compromised at this stage. 

Bone health

Menopause is a critical period of change in bone strength in women. It sets the stage for the development of osteoporosis which increases a person’s susceptibility to fracture.  

Osteoporosis, which means porosity of bones, is a progressive condition in which bones become structurally weak and are more likely to fracture or break. This weakening of bones is caused by a reduction in estrogen levels, as estrogen is responsible for preventing bones from getting weaker by slowing down the natural breakdown of bones. Hence, a reduction in estrogen during menopause speeds up bone loss significantly. However, this effect can be combated or managed effectively by exercising and eating diets high in calcium and vitamin D.

Movement of potassium and sodium in and out of cells

Potassium and sodium are very important electrolytes. Sodium is important for muscle and nerve function. It also helps control fluids in the body, impacting blood pressure. Potassium aids the transmission of nerve impulses, contributing to bone health and muscle contraction.  

Nerve impulses

During menopause, you may often get a feeling of an electric wave shooting through you. These electric shock sensations are caused by fluctuating hormones. Estrogen works with the central nervous system to send messages along nerves to the brain. When your hormones start to fluctuate, the signals may get crossed, amplified, or even distorted, causing the sensation of a shocking or tingling feeling all over your body.

Lifestyle changes, such as eating foods rich in phytoestrogens, (tofu, soybeans, broccoli, or berries), exercising regularly, and staying hydrated can help your body regulate the symptoms of menopause more effectively. 


The menopausal transition is a phase all women go through, and individual experiences of menopause vary due to numerous factors, such as a person’s lifestyle or the age at which menopause began. Increasing water intake is a simple lifestyle change that can help manage the symptoms of menopause. 


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  1. Electrolytes, Dehydration and Menopause. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.
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  1. Stachenfeld, Nina S. “Hormonal Changes During Menopause and the Impact on Fluid Regulation.” Reproductive Sciences, vol. 21, no. 5, May 2014, p. 555.,
  2. Karlamangla, Arun S., et al. “Bone Health during the Menopause Transition and Beyond.” Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, vol. 45, no. 4, Dec. 2018, pp. 695–708. PubMed Central,
  3. Menopause and Bone Loss. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Aisha Adeyiga

Bachelor of Science - BS, Anatomy, University of Ilorin

Aisha Adeyiga is a graduate of Human anatomy. She's enthusiastic about medicine, health and wellness. She loves to read books and travel. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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