Complete Symptom Guide to Menopause Itchy Skin | Stella

Menopause itchy skin


Itchy skin? Menopause is a time when many symptoms appear and yet this is not the first symptom that springs to mind. This is a common and inconvenient problem that affects many as they age. Read on to find out more about menopause itchy skin causes and treatments.


An irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch the affected area. Sometimes it is caused by heat extremes or dry, irritated or cracked skin.

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Menopause and itchy skin can affect many parts of the body, including your vagina, anal and genital area. Changing hormone levels can thin the skin and make it prone to dryness and itching.

Often the urge to itch can happen at night, a time when you can become very aware of skin sensations. It can be a real sleep thief, robbing you of high-quality sleep at a time when it is more valuable than ever.

Read more about the stages of menopause.


Allergic reaction

Have you started using new detergents, body products, Have you started using new detergents, body products, condoms, sanitary wear, perfume, or clothing? They may be irritating your skin. You can experiment by eliminating products one at a time and seeing if the itchiness improves. If you have a flare-up, talk to your healthcare provider.  

Vaginal itching

It is common to experience dryness, intense itching, or discomfort around your vulva and vagina at the time of menopause. This is often part of a condition called atrophic vaginitis, or thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls.

Some describe it as burning, feeling like sandpaper, and it can be extremely uncomfortable. Atrophic vaginitis can make sex uncomfortable or painful. One treatment that may help is an estrogen vaginal cream. Before starting your treatment, talk to your healthcare provider to make sure it isn’t a bacterial or yeast infection

Vulvar pruritus

This condition is when you have an itchy vulva and can be caused by dry, thinning skin during menopause. Talk to your healthcare provider in case it is a viral infection or a more serious skin condition that needs specific treatment.

Lichen Sclerosus

This chronic skin disease thins your skin and causes inflammation making it more prone to itching. It may even cause you pain during sex. It can be genetic and seems to be related to changes in the immune system but is also linked to hormonal changes.

It is much more common in women than men. More advanced diseases can cause severe scarring and narrowing of the vulva and vagina. It is also associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.  Diagnosis can only be confirmed with a skin biopsy, so talk to your healthcare provider about treatment.

Anal itching

Anal itching is not uncommon and can be very annoying or painful. It is important not to scratch as the skin around your anus is sensitive and can bleed easily. Changes in hormone levels at menopause can sometimes make anal itching worse.

If you have troublesome anal itching, use moist wipes or a bidet to clean when you have a bowel movement, and try not to wear tight underwear. Other things that can cause itching include hemorrhoids, and certain parasites (pinworms). Try to keep your stool soft. This helps avoid irritating the area further when you have a bowel movement. 

Read more about sleep issues and skin changes in our symptoms library.




Face and neck

Arms and legs

How can you reduce menopause itchy skin?

  1. Use an unperfumed moisturizer every day. Ideally, use it after bathing, and use a laundry detergent for sensitive skin
  2. Avoid scratching your skin if possible. Try tapping or patting instead. Keep your nails short to avoid causing any damage by scratching
  3. Choose clothing carefully. Wear loose, lightweight clothing to avoid overheating, and try not to wear synthetic fibers or tight clothes
  4. Avoid extremes of heat and cold. Try using humidifiers or air conditioners
  5. Avoid spending too much time in the water. This includes hot baths, swimming pools and jacuzzis

Can hormone therapy (HT) help?

Some find that hormone therapy (HT) helps menopause and itchy skin if it is not soothed by one of the treatments mentioned above, or if it becomes too disruptive.

Studies have shown that HT use can increase the levels of both skin hydration and skin surface lipids – a naturally-occurring layer of oils that keep the skin hydrated.

HT has also been shown to increase the amount of collagen in the skin.

Although it can be very useful, HT is not suitable for everyone. Speak to your healthcare provider if you would like to find out more about the best treatment for you.

Find out more about HT risks and benefits.

Itchiness and menopause FAQs

The ‘female’ hormone estrogen has many functions throughout the body, including in the skin.

The high levels of estrogen seen in younger people help to keep the skin healthy and plump by stimulating the production of both collagen and natural oils which help the skin to retain moisture.

At menopause, your body begins to produce much less estrogen, resulting in a lower production of both collagen and natural oils. This can cause excessive dryness, which in turn leads to menopause and itchy skin.

Other skin changes seen after menopause include thinning, poor wound healing, loss of elasticity, and fragility.

Although general itchiness can happen purely due to menopausal changes, there are many other possible causes. If you have any itching that persists for more than a few days, it is important to check in with your healthcare provider. They may want to do some further tests to rule out any underlying issues.

You should seek a medical review urgently if you have general itching as well as:

  • A yellowish tinge to your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Lip, tongue, or facial swelling, tightness in the chest or throat, or difficulty breathing
  • If you feel otherwise unwell or are concerned
I was astonished that I didn’t know vaginal dryness was part of perimenopause”



Prickly skin and menopause: A guide to managing weird skin sensations. Read more

10 steps to a good night’s sleep during menopause. Read more

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What are the 34 symptoms of menopause? Read more

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