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Menopause and Stroke


Updated February 27, 2008

Women Have Different Symptoms Than Men

Women present with nontraditional symptoms of stroke 62% of the time, much more frequently than men. This means that our symptoms are more likely to be missed or misunderstood and precious time can be lost because we don’t associate our symptoms with stroke. So in addition to the more traditional signs of stroke listed above, be aware of the following as symptoms that women experience:

  • Pain. Women are more likely to report pain as a symptom of their stroke, including chest pain, and sudden face or limb pain.

  • More Generalized Symptoms Women also report general sensations such as weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea more often than men do.

  • Other Unusual Symptoms. Women may experience hiccups and heart palpitations during a stroke, which are more rare in their male counterparts.

It’s easy to see that the unique stroke symptoms that women have might be easily misinterpreted or ignored. Be aware of these unusual symptoms so that you don’t dismiss them. And if you notice any warning signs or symptoms of a stroke, don’t talk yourself out of them. Quick treatment makes all the difference, so get help right away. When in doubt, call 911. Better to be embarrassed than to suffer a stroke without medical attention.

Realize that women have strokes, too, and that we are much more likely to die of them than men are. Pay attention to your risk factors, and work with your medical provider to keep your chances as low as possible of having a midlife stroke.


Labiche, LA, Wenyaw, C, Karnaldeen, RS, Morgenstern, LB, ”Sex and Acute Stroke Presentation,” Annals of Emergency Medicine, Vol. 40, No. 5, 453-460, Nov. 2002. Retrieved 22 Feb. 2008.

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