All women will eventually experience menopause. However, women may begin this transition at a young age. It is estimated that four in every 100 women will experience menopause in their 20's and 30's. While its causes are not entirely known, there are many signs and symptoms that can indicate early menopause.
Learn more about some of the common and uncommon signs and symptoms of early onset menopause.
What Are Early Menopause Signs and Symptoms?
Early menopause symptoms are similar to those of menopause at a normal age. The menopause process, at any age, is triggered by hormone fluctuations. However, depending on the cause of its onset, the frequency and severity of symptoms may vary.
Women generally start noticing symptoms when they enter perimenopause, the second stage of the menopause process. When it occurs naturally, perimenopause can last up to 10 years or, in the case of surgical removal of reproductive organs, it can be completely bypassed, as the body enters menopause immediately after surgery.
When menopause naturally occurs, symptoms tend to be mild and infrequent. However, when early menopause occurs due to the removal reproductive organs, the body experiences an abrupt decrease in hormone production, increasing the severity and duration of menopause symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Early Menopause
The most common symptoms experienced during early menopause are:
- Hot flashes. These are sudden body temperature changes that produce heat and sweating.
- Night sweats. These are the night version of hot flashes. They can interrupt sleep, leading to fatigue during the day.
- Irregular periods. This is the symptom most related to early menopause. Menstrual periods become unpredictable in time and flow.
- Decreased libido. Women often experience a decrease in sex drive due to hormone fluctuations.
- Vaginal dryness. The vaginal walls become thinner and lose their elasticity, causing pain during sex.
- Mood swings. Women in early menopause often experience sudden changes in mood or irritability.
Signs of Common Early Menopause Symptoms
The early menopause symptoms mentioned above are the most common symptoms women experience, regardless of when menopause occurs. Early menopause signs are measurable manifestations of physiological changes in the body. Their relationship is as follows:
Signs of Uncommon Early Menopause Symptoms
Besides the early menopause symptoms mentioned in the previous chart, women may experience other symptoms that are not as common.
Not every woman experiences every menopause symptom. The severity and duration of the symptoms women can experience also vary greatly. Nevertheless, research has shown that women going through early menopause due to surgical procedures tend to experience greater intensity in their symptoms.
Once women have identified their signs and symptoms and have determined they are experiencing early menopause, there are many different treatment options women can pursue to find relief. To learn how to fight early menopause symptoms, visit the early menopause treatments section.
- Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Office on Women's Health. (2010). Early menopause (premature menopause). Retrieved April 5, 2016, from http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-premature-menopause/