Besides fighting the symptoms that accompany menopause, women who are going through early menopause often have to deal with additional emotional and physical anxieties, such as premature infertility. Whether natural or induced by an illness or medical procedure, early or premature menopause is a reality for many young women.
Supporting your friend through the emotional and physical challenges of early menopause, you can help her get through one of the most important transitions in a woman's life. By recognizing the signs of early menopause, you can understand what to expect and help support a friend going through it as well.
Read on to find out tips on recognizing early menopause and supporting a friend who may be experiencing it.
Confront the issue head on. Every day offers a new challenge for a friend who is experiencing early menopause, and it's likely she is scared or ashamed to communicate what she's going through. Offer new insights and show your friend that although she is going through a difficult stage, she does not have to go through it alone.
Help your friend research early menopause and offer to go with her to the doctor if she wants support. Support is more than communication. By allowing yourself to be physically available it reassures your friend that you are a shoulder to lean on. Menopause also a time in which engaging in physical activity is especially beneficial. Exercise helps boost mood, elevating serotonin and endorphin levels. These two neurotransmitters are big players in mood regulation. Try going together to do Zumba, yoga, or jogging.
Warning Signs of Early Menopause
Symptoms experienced by women who are going through early menopause are usually the same as those of regular menopause. These symptoms include:
- Irregular periods
- Decreased libido
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Irritable bladder or urinary incontinence
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, any woman under the age of 40 should consult her doctor to determine the possibility of early menopause if she has:
- Family history of early menopause
- Recent chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Family history of autoimmune diseases or serious illness
Going through the menopause transition is one of the most difficult challenges women face. Remember that both you and your friend are going through a learning experience as life goes on, but having a friend to rely on during this journey can be a wonderful way to exchange support and form closer bonds.
Click here to read about more treatments for early menopause.
- 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.