Early Signs and Symptoms of Menopause Before 40
When we think of menopause, whom do we have pictured in our minds? Probably women in their 50s. Women getting close to retirement. Women with grown kids.
We don’t think of women in their 30s. Definitely don’t think of women in their 20s. And teens? Never. Now, there’s a reason we normally think of older women when it comes to menopause.
The average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51. And most experts say you can really expect to experience menopause any time between 48 and 55.And this makes sense when you consider that most women are totally done having children by the time they reach these ages.
But every woman is different. And that means their bodies act differently.
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So for every 100 women you know, one of them began menopause before the age of 40. If that woman happens to be you (or you think it could be you) – or if you just want to understand why an “older woman’s” life event can be a “young woman’s” life event – read on.
Symptoms of Menopause Before 40
Symptoms of menopause before 40 are just about the exact same as the symptoms of menopause after 40 with one big difference: women aren’t expecting them.
So when a 30-year-old starts getting hot flashes, their first thought probably isn’t “I’m just going through menopause.” They’re probably worried something else is happening.
Here is what young women can expect to find if they are entering a premature menopause:
- Irregular Periods
- Missed Periods
- Hot Flashes
- Vaginal Dryness
- Bladder Issues (like not having as much bladder control or experiencing irritation)
- Unexplained Weight Gain/Weight Changes
- Mood Swings
- Mild Depression
- Dry Skin
- Pain During Intercourse
- Lower Libido
Of course the biggest “side effect” of all these symptoms is the inability to become pregnant. This is why early menopause can be such an issue when it’s premature. It can devastate life plans.
How Do You Know For Sure?
Of course, having some of the symptoms above does not instantly mean you are in menopause at an early age. Things like hormone imbalances, depression, and even pregnancy can lead to these symptoms too.
That’s why it is imperative to visit a doctor and get a firm diagnosis before you worry too much.
Your doctor will run blood tests that will:
- Rule out any other medical problems that could be giving you these symptoms
- Look at your follicle stimulating hormone – the one that causes your ovaries to make estrogen
These tests can conclusively let you know if you are in menopause.
Causes of Early Menopause
So why does this even happen? Why are young women going through something that was “supposed” to be for older women? There are many reasons why your body may go through this change.
Of course, it is entirely possible to have these issues and still have menopause at the expected time. And the opposite is true: you may not have these causes, but still enter menopause before 40.
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Family History/Genetic Conditions
If the women in your family tend to have early menopause, there is a good chance that you could too. There are some genetic factors that can run in families.
Some of those genetic conditions include:
- Fragile X
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
If you know your mom/older sisters went through this and you want to have children, you should talk to your doctor right away and make plans.
Diseases like lupus, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, or Crohn’s disease could actually lead to premature menopause. This is due to these conditions actually ruining the ovarian follicles. Again, talk to your doctor about what to do if you would like to have children.
This is one of those conditions that affect so many aspects of a woman’s reproductive system from painful periods to infertility. Unsurprisingly, then, there is also a connection between endometriosis and early menopause.
We all know that radiation and chemotherapy are terrible for cancer cells… but it is also terrible for plenty of healthy cells. Sometimes ovaries can take the brunt of the cancer treatments and can begin to shut down.
Many times the reason for your early menopause is unknown. This can feel frustrating, but realize you’re not alone in it. About 60% of all women who experience early menopause have an unknown cause.
Of course, if there is any reason at all that requires your ovaries be removed – you will instantly go into menopause no matter how old you are.
The Benefits of Early Menopause
For the most part, premature menopause is normally considered - at best – annoying and – at worst –devastating. But there are some good things it can do. And that silver lining should not be ignored.
- First off – your risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer go down.
- Second – you will no longer have to deal with periods; this is especially helpful for women with painful, debilitating periods each month.
The Risk of Premature Menopause You May Not Think About
Outside of being frustrating or even extremely sad (especially if you were not done having children), premature menopause has an added risk: fewer years of estrogen.
When you enter menopause, your estrogen drops. This is why you get those hot flashes, why you can no longer bear children, and why your sex drive decreases. But estrogen plays an important role in your body beyond reproduction and sex.
Estrogen actually aids the body in warding off these health problems:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Colon cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
So you lose an extra 10, 15, or even 20 years of high estrogen production due to premature menopause, you can have an increased risk of any of these very serious health problems.
This means women with early onset menopause need to visit their doctors and talk about treatment options.
Treatment Options For Menopause Before 40
Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse menopause. Once it happens, it happens.
On top of the heartbreak from no longer being able to have children, the emotional difficulty can go further. These women will experience what feels like “older women” symptoms before their peers do. They can struggle with feeling “old” even in very young age.
But here’s the good news: you can treat the symptoms. You can make them less prevalent in your life. There are two main options you have: prescription and herbal.
HRT is hormone replacement therapy, and it is often used for women with early menopause for many reasons:
- We have already discussed how having years without estrogen can harm the body; adding extra estrogen can help ward off those problems
- HRT can greatly limit the negative side effects of menopause in general including insomnia, low sex drive, and hot flashes
But realize HRT is controversial. In fact, some doctors won’t even prescribe it. A clinical study actually discovered that some women were receiving far worse medical problems from HRT – things like stroke, blood clots, heart disease, and even cancer.
Talk to your doctor about all of your options before you make your final decision.
Natural Menopause Supplements
There are also some all-natural supplements you can take to help decrease the negative menopause symptoms like hot flashes. Some of your top options include:
- Black cohosh root
- Magnolia bark extract
- Chaste berry tree
- St. John’s wort
- Pueraria Mirifica
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B
Eu Natural combines these supplements into one convenient pill – Staying Cool for Hot Flashes and Menopause Relief. With just 1 capsule two times a day, you can start to feel some relief from the most uncomfortable symptoms.
Other Ways To Help Menopause Symptoms Before 40
If you don’t want to be dealing with all the symptoms of menopause at such a young age, you will need to be extremely intentional about making your body as healthy and as comfortable as possible. Here are a few ideas:
- Prep for your hot flashes in the workplace: Bring moist towelettes, a table fan, extra deodorant, extra makeup, and tools to re-do your hair. Always keep a water bottle by your desk. Consider bringing wet wash clothes in lunch box with an ice pack.
- Learn how to keep sex pleasurable: Talk to your doctor about creams that can aid with vaginal dryness. Consider a vibrator to help keep your vaginal walls open and avoid pain. Talk to a sex therapist.
- Know insomnia cures: Sleep with your AC set around 68 degrees. Greatly limit or cut out caffeine. Set a bedtime routine and stick to it. Don’t allow screens in your bedroom. Use a sound machine to drown out any noises. Take an all-natural supplement with melatonin and magnesium.
- Manage your stress: Be sure to exercise regularly. Try yoga classes. Make meditation a regular part of your daily routine. Take time for self-care practices like hot baths or manicures.
- Deal with your depression: Talk to therapist. Find an online or in-person support group of other young women going through the same thing. Make sure you stay active.
- Lose weight safely: Don’t follow any crash or starvation diets. Be sure to focus on eating whole foods like produce, lean meat, nuts, and gluten-free grains. Meet with a trainer to learn the best exercises for your body type.
Dealing With Early Menopause
If you are in the midst of early menopause – or even think you might be – it’s time to reach out to a doctor and talk about all of your options.
Get on a natural menopause supplement. And consider talking to a professional counselor. If you are struggling with early menopause as it relates to your fertility - or even if you are feeling like your body is making you old before your time, a therapist can help take you through the process.
Yes, premature menopause can be extremely frustrating and sad. But it does not have to be the end of your life as you know it.