Menopause is a major life transition for women, and is in many ways the opposite of puberty. While puberty incited periods and fertility, menopause causes periods to cease, and ends your ability to have children. Often, the menopause transition is accompanied by a variety of symptoms, such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and more.
Early menopause is when menopause starts before the age of 40, but it can strike as early as your twenties. Read on to learn more about early menopause.
Why Does Early Menopause Occur?
Early menopause has a variety of different causes and factors. It can be completely natural, many people have a genetic predisposition for it. If your mother or grandmother went through menopause early, there is a reasonable chance that you will too.
Early menopause can also be caused by certain types of surgeries and medical procedures. Hysterectomies and oophorectomies, for example, both involve surgical procedures that remove part of the reproductive system. This often leads to early menopause.
Early menopause can also be caused by certain types of cancers and diseases. You should always talk to your doctor if you are experiencing early menopause so that he or she can rule out these options.
Early Menopause Age Range
Menopause usually occurs in the mid-forties to late fifties. Menopause is considered early when it strikes before the mid-forties, but menopause has been known to strike as young as twenty, it is called premature menopause.
Making the Most of Early Menopause
While you can't reverse early menopause, there are a number of ways to alleviate the symptoms and make it less troublesome. Some tips include:
Eat healthy. Make sure you are getting all the necessary vitamins your body needs. Hormonal imbalance is the primary cause of many symptoms, and a lack of essential vitamins can worsen this imbalance. It can also reduce hair loss and thinning, another symptom of menopause.
Exercise. This helps balance hormone levels, releases serotonin that improves mood and alleviates mood swing symptoms, and reduces stress levels, which can trigger other symptoms. This is also important for lessening weight gain and bloating brought on by menopause.
Drink enough water. This is partly about balancing your body, and partly because many menopause symptoms (e.g.,night sweats, hot flashes, etc.) leave you dehydrated.
Avoid triggers. There are a number of substances that can worsen menopause symptoms, such as caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
Look into treatments for your specific symptoms. Menopause has a lot of symptoms, and each one has a different treatment. For those suffering vaginal dryness, there are creams available. Hot flashes and night sweats can be alleviated by changing your wardrobe. Hair loss can be curtailed by changing your hair style.
Click here to learn specific lifestyle changes you can make to combat your 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.