Early Menopause Q&As
Nowadays, women often feel that 40 is the new 30. Many of them are at the brink of starting a family in their late 30s and early 40s. That’s why it can be particularly difficult to make sense of the unfamiliar changes happening in their bodies, signaling menopause. But we’ve got you covered. Buckle up for our early menopause Q&As so that you feel prepared for what’s ahead of you.
What Age is Considered Early Menopause?
Most women begin the menopausal transition (a phase called “perimenopause”) sometime between the ages of 45 and 55. The average age at which women reach menopause (that is, have their final periods) is 51.
So, early menopause is one that happens before the age of 45. It is said to affect up to 5% of women.
If a woman reaches menopause before the age of 40, the correct term to denote it is premature menopause. It’s much rarer than early menopause as it affects about 1% of women.
What Are the Symptoms of Early Menopause?
Symptoms of early menopause are the same as those affecting women going through natural menopause.
One of the first are irregular menstrual cycles. Women may have less frequent periods (or longer cycles), heavy bleeding, and spotting in between periods. They may also randomly skip menses for a few months.
Other typical early menopause symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Physical symptoms: Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, sleep issues, headaches
- Psychological/Emotional symptoms: Anxiety, irritability, mood swings, depression
Symptoms tend to be the most intense in the years leading up to women’s final periods, that is, during perimenopause.
What Can Trigger Early Menopause?
Scientists are not sure why some women enter menopause at an earlier age. In fact, in up to 60% of cases, the exact cause of early menopause cannot be pinpointed.
However, research has identified certain factors that make early or premature menopause more likely, including:
- Family history, such as having a mother who has reached menopause at an early age
- Lifestyle factors, including smoking or obesity
- Reproductive history, such as starting menstruating before age 12 or not having children
- Chromosomal abnormalities, like Turner’s syndrome or Fragile X
- Autoimmune diseases, like thyroid disease or rheumatoid arthritis
Also, early menopause can be triggered by an oophorectomy, which is surgical removal of the ovaries. Because these organs produce reproductive hormones, their removal will trigger immediate menopause.
What Are the Consequences of Early Menopause?
Without a doubt, entering menopause in women’s 30s or early 40s carries certain health-related consequences.
Infertility is oftentimes the most difficult-to-accept repercussion of early menopause. Once women reach their final periods, they can no longer get pregnant naturally. If pregnancy is desired, it has to be achieved through in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs, unless a woman previously froze her own eggs.
Moreover, entering menopause at an early age may come with some health risks, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Regular check-ups can help keep those risks at bay.
How is Early Menopause Treated?
The approach to treating early menopause resolves around alleviating symptoms and lowering health risks by balancing hormone levels and implementing a healthy lifestyle. There are no treatments to stop or reverse early menopause.
- Healthy lifestyle. Women can strengthen their bodies and minds, balance hormones, alleviate symptoms, and minimize health risks through balanced diet, daily movement, and stress-relieving techniques.
- Hormone-balancing supplements, like Macafem. By acting directly on hormone-producing glands, Macafem can promote hormonal equilibrium and ease the effects of hormonal fluctuations on the body. Being 100% natural and rich in beneficial alkaloids, Macafem can be safely taken long-term.
- Phytoestrogenic supplements, like black cohosh or red clover. They may be another option for women seeking to balance hormones naturally. However, supplementing phytoestrogens long-term can further worsen hormonal imbalance.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Women going through early menopause can usually find relief with natural alternatives, without taking HRT. However, those going through premature menopause are generally recommended HRT short-term to lessen potential health risks. Either way, the use of HRT should be evaluated on a one-on-one basis as it has been linked to serious side effects.
Certainly, early menopause takes many women by surprise, especially those who had upcoming pregnancy plans. But thanks to the right treatment approaches and medical advancements, early menopausal women can live a healthy life and achieve pregnancy if they so desire.
Better Health Channel. (2018). Premature and early menopause. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/premature-and-early-menopause
Maturitas. (2011). Premature menopause or early menopause: long-term health consequences. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815011/
Medline Plus. (2016). Menopause. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/menopause.html
The Lancet. (2019). Early menopause and risk of cardiovascular disease: an issue for your women. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(19)30184-7/fulltext
The North American Menopause Society. (n.d.). Perimenopause & Premature Menopause FAQs. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.menopause.org/for-women/expert-answers-to-frequently-asked-questions-about-menopause/perimenopause-premature-menopause-faqs