Although the average age of the natural onset of menopause in the United States is 51 years old, several factors could cause some women to experience symptoms of menopause at a younger age.
Medical procedures and treatments, genetics, and illnesses may lead to menopausal signs before or during your forties, called premature menopause. Whether induced or normal, this can have several effects on your body and overall health which can be treated using menopause supplements.
Usually, women in their forties experience symptoms of perimenopause, the transition stage towards the cessation of ovulation and menstruation. During this time, the ovaries decrease or stop producing the hormone estrogen, so the estrogen levels in the body dramatically drop.
This leads to several changes in the body associated with the reproductive system. To make this period of your life more enjoyable and manageable, you have to know the telltale signs that accompany it, which include:
● Hot flashes or a feeling of sudden warmth spreading all throughout the body.
● Cold flashes.
● Sweating at night.
● Vaginal dryness that might cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
● Urinary urgency or the need or urge to urinate more frequently than normal.
● Insomnia or difficulty in falling or staying asleep.
● Emotional changes which include but are not limited to mild depression, mood swings, and irritability.
● Dryness of the skin, mouth, and eyes.
Some women also experience:
● Thinning and reduced flexibility of the vaginal tissues, causing dryness and discomfort
● Bladder irritability and urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control
● Low sex drive
Aside from these symptoms, some women also experience the following during the transition stage or perimenopause:
● Tenderness of the breasts
● Premenstrual syndrome or PMS that is succeedingly worse than the previous one
● Irregular or missed periods
● Periods that are either lighter, heavier, last longer, or last for fewer days than normal
Other less common symptoms such as:
● Palpitations or a racing heart
● Unusual headaches
● Joint and muscle pains or aches
● Changes in sex drive or libido
● Temporary memory lapses or difficulty to focus and concentrate
● Weight gain
● Loss or thinning of hair
While period irregularity is normal and common, some abnormal bleeding patterns such as those listed below can be due to other conditions like hormonal treatments, fibroids, blood clots, pregnancy, or although rarely, cancer.
● Frequently changing period patterns.
● Very heavy periods accompanied by blood clots.
● Periods lasting several days longer than normal.
● Spotting or bleeding in between periods.
● Spotting or light bleeding after sexual intercourse.
● Periods that are close together.
While all of the said symptoms are due to the decreased estrogen levels, not all women experience the same symptoms.
If you are worried or if you experience any of these situations, it’s best to see your doctor in order to rule out more serious medical conditions that could be causing them.
You should also consult your doctor to confirm that you are undergoing premature menopause if:
● You have been subjected to radiation or chemotherapy in the past
● You or a family member has an autoimmune disorder like lupus, Graves’ disease, or hypothyroidism
● You have been trying to become pregnant for more than a year with no success
Aside from the mentioned symptoms of menopause, low estrogen levels can also affect the overall health and increase a woman’s risk of getting other diseases such as colon cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, tooth loss, periodontal or gum disease, coronary artery disease, and cataract development.
Also, if you are indeed undergoing premature menopause, you will be spending a larger portion of your life without estrogen protecting you from these diseases, putting you at a much higher risk of developing these related health problems.
Treatments and Remedies to Ease the Symptoms of Menopause
While there is no way to stop or prevent menopause, there are several ways and methods that you can do in order to help you manage these signs and symptoms as soon as you experience them.
To find relief, experts and doctors suggest the following:
● Hormone therapy or taking low doses of birth control pills.
● Antidepressant medications for mood swings.
● Regular exercise.
● Quitting or refraining from smoking.
● Getting adequate, regular sleep.
● Sleeping and rising at the same time every day.
● Drinking less alcohol and caffeine.
● Maintaining a healthy weight.
● Getting enough vitamins, nutrients, and calcium from your diet.
● Using vaginal lubricants for vaginal dryness.
● Asking your doctor about multivitamins.
Above all, be open to your partner and doctor or therapist about the problems that you are experiencing. Unless the actual cause of your condition is determined or pinpointed, your doctor will not be able to choose or plan the right treatment for you.