Menopause and breathing difficulties

What are menopause-related breathing difficulties?

While it’s unusual for most of us, a small number of women do experience breathing difficulties during the menopause transition. It’s a symptom that can crop up in different forms.

Some women feel shorter of breath than they usually would, while others experience reduced exercise tolerance and fatigue. Some may not notice a difference at all until a healthcare professional checks their lung function.

The menopause transition can also impact pre-existing lung diseases, such as asthma or chronic obstructive airway disease, which may worsen

What causes breathing difficulties in the menopause?

Doctors still don’t completely understand why breathing difficulties happen during the menopause. A drop in oestrogen can affect inflammation in the body, which could interfere with lung function.

Many women feel more anxious during the perimenopause and menopause. A physical symptom of anxiety is shortness of breath, so this could also be a factor. 

Are breathing difficulties linked to any particular stage of the menopause?

The truth is that there’s no clear answer to this question. If your breathing difficulties are the result of a drop in oestrogen, they could affect you at any stage of your menopause transition.

How can breathing difficulties be treated?

First, check with your doctor that your breathing issues are not due to any underlying lung disease.

It’s essential to get checked if you have warning signs like wheezing, coughing, coughing up blood, chest pains, dizziness, or palpitations, but really, any change to your breathing needs checking out before deciding whether or not it’s connected to the menopause.

Some things that you can do to help with breathing difficulties are:

Staying fit and active

As with any aspect of the menopause, staying active and looking after yourself is vital. Our friends at Her Spirit have lots of help and advice available. They can help you find an activity for you and provide the support to do it.

Stop smoking

As well as reducing breathing difficulties, it will also reduce your risk of cancer. If you would like help to quit, the NHS is a great place to start.


Probably not the advice you were expecting, but the truth is that singing is a joyous activity and is a great way to improve your lung function.

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