Sometimes, the signs of menopause - hot flashes, missed periods, and mood swings, to name a few - begin arriving before the age of 40, rather than at around 51, the average age of menopause. If this is the case, you may be experiencing early menopause.
Common Signs of Early Menopause
What are the signs of early menopause? Every woman is different, but there are some symptoms that are roughly consistent among most early menopausal women, including:
Irregular periods. In early menopause, periods can become erratic. They may occur more or less often than usual, but in general, they won't be quite on schedule. Later stages of menopause see the gradual winding down of ovulation, with menstruation typically becoming infrequent and heavy.
Mood swings. Beyond the normal highs and lows of everyday life is the hormonal rollercoaster of emotions - early menopausal mood swings. Women facing this symptom report feeling like they are not in full control of their emotions. They may be sad one moment and giddy the next, all for no apparent reason.
Vaginal dryness. Women going through early menopause often experience a loss of moisture and elasticity in their vaginal lining. This can lead to discomfort and pain during sex.
Loss of libido. Hormonal imbalances during early menopause can sap your sex drive. This symptom is generally more common in older women, but it is also a sign of the menopause transition.
Hot flashes and night sweats. Felt as a sudden onset of intense heat, hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most common symptoms of early menopause, affecting over 75% of menopausal women. Hot flashes are the most well-known symptom of menopause.
If you have experienced some or all of these symptoms, it may be a sign that you have entered early menopause. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or if you are looking for an effective treatment for your symptoms. Click on the following link to learn more about early menopause.
- Better Health Channel. (2014). Symptoms of premature and early menopause. Retrieved October 27, 2015, from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Menopause_premature_early_menopause
- National Institute on Aging. (2015). Menopause: Time for a Change. Retrieved October 27, 2015, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/what-can-you-do-hot-flashes-and-other-menopausal-symptoms