Do things just slip through your fingers? Do you continually bump into things, drop things, misplant a foot when descending the stairs or stepping off a curb?
Remember that gawky awkward phase you went through as you entered puberty, when suddenly your legs were longer, your arms reached farther, and all these new bits of you felt out of your control?
Well, like the acne, mood swings, and erratic periods, clumsy is back, and menopause may be (in part, at least) to blame. Fortunately, like adolescence, it’s generally temporary on this end too.
The possible link between clumsiness and perimenopause and menopause
Estrogen – particularly estradiol – appears to have a beneficial effect on fine motor skills. It’s why, at certain points in a woman’s cycle, she may feel a bit clumsier or more graceful than at other times.
It’s also why many women in perimenopause and menopause notice a marked difference in their ability to hold onto things and move comfortably through the world.
Drops in estrogen can also make concentration a bit more difficult, and that moment of inattention can be the difference between enjoying a glass of wine and cleaning it off the carpet.
Additionally, blurred vision from dry eye or even cataracts can add to the number of accidents we seem to be having lately.
Finally, some women say slight dizziness or light-headedness during this time also causes a lack of coordination.
What to do about it
Constantly having to clean up messes is annoying, takes time, and can start to drain our already flagging self-confidence, so here are a few tips to get through this second “awkward phase”:
- Slow down. Cleaning out the dishwasher is a crappy chore, and we all hurry through it, but you can avoid adding extra layers of crappiness by slowing down so things don’t slip through your fingers and break.
- Do less at once. Not having to make more than one trip from the car is kind of a fun challenge, but where you used to be comfortable balancing 18 boxes and bags in one trembling pile, now you may not. Consider it an opportunity to get a little more exercise, and bring in the groceries in multiple trips.
- Be mindful. This one is really important for women who may have osteopenia or osteoporosis. Pay attention to the terrain, step carefully off the curb, so you plant your foot soundly. Your depth perception may be a bit challenged right now, so give yourself that extra second to save yourself any risk of a fall.
- Get your eyes tested. Be sure you’re seeing well. Get drops for dry eyes, check the prescription on your glasses. If you’re knocking things over, you may just not be seeing them clearly and misjudging the distance.
- Exercise. In menopause particularly, balance and strength are critical to maintain. Balance, strength, and coordination exercises can help you regain more control of your body (think Tai Chi or qigong, or yoga). And bonus, the right exercise regimen can help strengthen muscles and retain more bone density, so it’s basically a win-win-win. Talk with a physical therapist, if possible, about exercises that help with motor control. These activities from wikiHow might help with fine motor skills, hand strength, and hand-eye coordination. My personal favorite tip: learn to juggle. It’s great for hand-eye coordination.
- Be patient with new things. Everyone is clumsy with unfamiliar tools or activities, and you may need a bit more time to master new skills. But learning new things can be really good for your brain, so give yourself extra time and leeway for making mistakes. Don’t give up or decide not to try something new just because you’re really going to look like the newb you are.
When to seek help
An increased tendency to drop things and bump into furniture during this time is common, but if your “clumsiness” seems very sudden, very extreme, or comes with slurred speech, numbness, headaches, or difficulty swallowing, seek medical help right away.
Of course, if you have any concern that what you’re experiencing is more serious that a dip in estrogen, please talk to your doctor.
And now for the good news
While there’s not much research on this, what there is, plus anecdotes from women I’ve spoken with seem to indicate this is transitional and temporary, and most women regain motor control after their bodies adapt to less estrogen.
Of course, you can help yourself recover more completely by doing strength exercises. The lost muscle mass many women experience doesn’t regenerate without effort, and much of motor control depends on strength.
We can help you feel in control of your menopause
- Meet with a Gennev Doctor - our menopause specialists can help you understand the expected and unexpected symptoms you may be experiencing and devise a personal treatment plan to help you feel better
- Partner with a Health Coach for actionable lifestyle solutions and the support you need to tackle menopause on your own terms
- Vitality – our most popular daily supplement is a nutrient-packed multi-vitamin supports mood, energy, stress response, immune health, joint pain, and inflammation
- Magnesium – Our super-power supplement can help relieve joint pain, muscle cramps, Restless Leg Syndrome, headaches, depression, fatigue, anxiety and supports better sleep.
The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional. Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev's telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.