While most women approach menopause between their late 40s and 50s, a smaller contingent can experience early menopause, meaning they begin the transition out of their reproductive years much earlier, due to certain medical treatments, surgeries, or illnesses.
Women who identify with this category may be wondering what the symptoms of early menopause are and what to expect. Read below to learn more about early menopause symptoms of both the physical and emotional varieties.
Physical Symptoms of Early Menopause
The physical symptoms of early menopause are often the easiest to identify, marking a definite change that is occurring in the body. Physical signs of early menopause include:
A classic sign that menopause is approaching, irregular periods can manifest as either missed periods, heavier or lighter flows, or longer or shorter time spans between periods.
Hot flashes & Night Sweats
These are other classic symptoms of early menopause. Women who experience hot flashes and their nocturnal counterpart, night sweats, report a sudden and intense rush of heat that radiates throughout the body for about thirty seconds.
Often linked to sleep-disruptive night sweats, insomnia is another early menopause symptom.
Usually the result of the hormone fluctuations that cause menopause, women who notice that they are experiencing more frequent or intense headaches may be experiencing one of the symptoms of early menopause.
As a woman's body begins this transition, it begins to produce less estrogen, causing the vagina to become somewhat dryer than usual. This uncomfortable symptom of early menopause is fairly common.
Emotional Symptoms of Early Menopause
In conjunction with the physical symptoms of early menopause, a few emotional symptoms are able to find a stage as well. These include:
Fluctuating hormones can also cause women experiencing early menopause to feel like their emotions are running the show, leaving them perplexed and frustrated.
Depression is a more serious symptom of early menopause and can be brought about by both hormone fluctuations and the other changes a woman witnesses happening to her body. Women who believe they are experiencing depression should seek help of a trusted doctor.
Losing interest in sex can have a dramatic effect on women in early menopause as well as their partners. Thanks to hormone levels and physical changes to the vagina, some women can feel almost a total lack of sexual desire.
How to Treat Early Menopause Symptoms?
Women who find that they are experiencing some of the symptoms of early menopause have a wide variety of options regarding their next step. Women can seek relief from the following types of treatment:
- Lifestyle changes
- Alternative medicines
- Prescription drugs
Early menopause and its symptoms should not dictate any woman's life. Women can explore the treatment options above and discuss them with their doctors to discover the most effective option for them. Click the following link to learn more about early menopause treatments.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hopkins, Virginia. Lee, John R. M.D. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books Inc., 1996.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Martin, Raquel. The Estrogen Alternative. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2000.