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Eight signs of early menopause

 Premature menopause can happen in your 20’s and 30’s (Shutterstock)

Menopause is a natural process that occurs in women between ages of 45 and 51 on average.

This signals the end of a woman’s reproductive years and it is something every woman has to go through.

For some women though, this journey starts before its time. A woman who is already menopausing at 40 is experiencing early menopause and a woman who is going though that before 40 is experiencing a premature menopause.

Premature menopause can happen in your 20’s and 30’s and is usually due to certain factors such as medical conditions and treatments, lifestyle habits like smoking and genetics. Medical treatments associated with premature or early menopause include chemotherapy treatments.

Medical checks like hormone tests are done to determine whether you’re menopausing prematurely and you can also self-diagnose based on these signs.

i.Period irregularities

Any huge change to your usual period isn’t a good sign. With premature menopause, you might notice that your period has stopped completely for months or you have irregular cycles where it shows up sometimes and other times it doesn’t. The flow can also be heavy or lighter than usual because of the hormonal changes occurring.

ii.Hot flashes

This is the most prevalent symptom associated with menopause. Your body temperature rises all of a sudden which can also cause sweating.

Some triggers can be stress, caffeine and spicy foods. To manage this, you can wear breathable clothes and have sweaters or jumpers you can quickly unzip when the hot flashes come.

iii.Mood swings

Sudden mood changes, anxiety and depression are a common symptom as well. It’s caused by low estrogen levels which usually help control your mood.

A big part of managing the symptoms of early menopause is going for counselling or finding ways to keep your metal and emotional health in check.

 Menopause can cause sudden mood changes, anxiety and depression (Shutterstock)

iv.Vaginal dryness

Low estrogen levels cause your vagina to feel dry. You might need to get some vaginal moisturizers or even estrogen treatments.

v.Low sex drive

This is partially because of low levels of estrogen and partly because of the mood swings, vaginal dryness and other discomforts when you attempt to have sex.

All this can make sex painful which also trigger your pelvic floor muscles to tighten. You can try relaxing more to reduce stress levels and invest in good lubricants.

vi.Sleep troubles

Another common sign is trouble falling asleep and shortened sleep cycles. When you wake up, you don’t feel well rested at all. Along with that is night sweats. Your body heats up at night and that can also disrupt your sleep.

This excessive sweating can literally soak up your pajamas by the time you wake up. Manage this by sleeping on lighter, breathable sheets and cover yourself with lighter blankets that won’t cause you to overheat at night.

vii.More bathroom breaks

You won’t be able to hold for long before you need to rush to the bathroom for a short call. Your muscles and tubes are less elastic and your pelvic floor muscles have also been weakened which makes it hard not to pee.

viii.Weakened bones

Estrogen has a part to play in the strength of your bones. With an estrogen deficiency in early menopause, you may start to experience signs of osteoporosis. The rate of bone reabsorption is significantly higher than the rate of bone formation.

To manage this, you should eat more calcium rich foods to strengthen your bones, do more strengthening exercises and take supplements if you’ve been directed by your doctor.

Early or premature menopause can’t be cured. But medication can help to slow down the process more and make the symptoms more manageable. You also have to do your part in making lifestyle changes.

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