Differences By Socioeconomic Status
A number of studies have observed that lower social class, as measured by the woman’s educational attainment or by her own or her husband’s occupation, is associated with an earlier age at natural menopause.,,,,,, However, results from a British birth cohort indicated that early life socioeconomic status was more strongly associated than adult status with age at natural menopause, although even the relation of early life SES was greatly attenuated when adjusted for childhood cognitive ability and having been breastfed. One study found that education was more strongly associated with age at natural menopause than occupation. Most studies that have examined the relation of marital status have found that single women undergo an earlier natural menopause, and this association cannot be explained by nulliparity.,,
What It Feels Like To Go Through Early Menopause At 35
20/02/2015 4:40 pm
Hot flushes, night sweats, an aching sense of loss. Nia Fisher explains how it feels to go through early menopause
Its a chilly winter night but Im lying in bed sweating, unable to sleep. Ive thrown my duvet aside and got rid of my pyjamas. Ive spritzed myself with water and turned my fan up high, but the heat is still intense, rising from my midriff towards my head in pulsating waves.
When I first experienced this unsettling feeling, I didnt know what was going on. Yes, I knew that night sweats were a symptom of menopause, but I thought that only happened to women in their fifties. I was just 35, single and not sexually active, so when I missed a few periods I thought it was odd, but put it down to stress. As an actress appearing in a West End musical, my work schedule was intense, my dad was having treatment for cancer and I was packing to move house.
I felt more emotional than usual, but it was the constant sweating that disturbed me, so eventually I went to see my GP, who recommended blood tests to measure my oestrogen levels and something called the follicle stimulating hormone in my body. Oestrogen is the most important hormone for regulating your cycle and is essential for reproduction, while FSH helps oestrogen production, so its crucial for fertility. If your level is too high, it can be because your ovaries are struggling to produce oestrogen and the body is working overtime to correct this, indicating youre approaching menopause.
What Is Premature & Early Menopause
Premature menopause is when the final menstrual period occurs before a woman is 40. Early menopause is when the final menstrual period occurs between 40 and 45 years. Up to 8% of women have had their final period by the time they are 45. The number of women reaching menopause by this time may be increased in relation to treatment after cancer, or removal of the ovaries.
This may happen because:
- periods stop spontaneously due to primary ovarian insufficiency this affects up to 1% of women
- menopause is induced by a secondary cause such as:
- surgery when ovaries are removed surgically
- chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
This video explains the causes of and treatments for premature and early menopause.
Also Check: Menopause Dizziness Treatment
Christina Went To Her Gp When She Missed A Period And Had Hot Flushes At Age 40 She Had Her Last
I went after Id missed my second month. I mean I wasnt in a relationship or anything so I knew there was no way that there was going to be a pregnancy or anything like that and I went and said, Im just worried, I just want to make sure that everythings okay. And he said, Well, you probably are going through the menopause. So well leave it but if you have a period then come back. But it wasnt until I went back six months later because I was feeling really grotty and Id had the sweats and everything else and I saw a female GP in our practice, and she said, Ill take your hormone test and find out what your hormone levels are and then well confirm one way or another whats happening before we look at your thyroid again. And all this that and the other and the results came back that I was going through. And she said, Unfortunately, theres nothing we can do for you because of the problems, medical history youve got. So she said, Youve got to grin and bear it.So you said you had a blood clotting problem. What was that?Yeah, I have protein S deficiency. My mum had previously had several deep vein thromboses and embolisms on the lung so I had an embolism on my lung.
How Does Ovulation Work
Before we begin to understand ovarian failure we need to understand ovulation. In brief, a female is born with about 2 million ovarian follicles. As she gets older and reaches puberty she will only have about 300,000-400,000 left. The body does not make any more. These follicles are very important because they mature to be eggs that will be released during ovulation. Now, 300,000 may sound like a lot, but not every follicle becomes a mature egg.
When your menstrual cycle begins, your estradiol levels are low. Your hypothalamus sends out a message to your pituitary gland which then sends out a follicle-stimulating hormone .
This FSH triggers a few of your follicles to develop into mature eggs. Remember only one follicle will be the lucky one to become a mature egg. As the follicles mature they send out another hormone, estrogen. Estrogen sends a message to the hypothalamus to stop producing FSH. If the follicles do not mature and produce estrogen to stop the production of FSH, FSH will continue to produce and rise to high levels.
This is why women with POF are checked for high levels of FSH. Once the levels of estrogen are high enough, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland know that there is a mature egg. A luteinizing hormone is then released this is referred to as your LH surge.
You May Like: What Causes Vaginal Odor After Menopause
Read Also: Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Menopause
An Author On Going Through Menopause At 37
When Isabel Gillies, the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Happens Every Day , floated the idea of writing about her experience of going into menopause at a young age , she was met with some push back. Its a conversation that in many ways is still avoided, silenced, unwanted. Fortunately for us, she didnt listen. Her personal essay on the ups and downs, the challengesand yeah, the joysof menopause is funny and moving, warm, and mostly, really real. As Gillies poignantly puts it, lets keep talking to each other.
I Went Into Menopause In My 30s
My boyfriend and I had been living together for about four years. I had wanted to have a child for my entire life, but he was really on the fence. Somewhere along the way I started mirroring him, and telling my friends, Im not really sure if I want to have a kid . But when I hit 38, I got back in touch with what I really wanted: to have a child.
I started going to a new gynecologist who was pretty casual about my chances: You are older but youre very healthy, she said. Start taking these vitamins and lets see. Id gone on the pill when I was 17 and stayed on it for 22 years without any breaks, until the spring of 2012. But about a month after I stopped the pill, I started getting terrible hot flashes and nausea. I felt terrible.
Meanwhile, my boyfriend, whos an actor, decided he was going to do a play on the West Coast over the summer. He left, and I stayed in New York, going through what I would imagine withdrawal is like: sweaty, nauseous, unwell, feeling like I needed to lay down. It happened every day, and it could last five minutes or it could last all afternoon.
You May Like: How Does Menopause Affect Sex Drive
Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms
Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used off-label and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .
Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed off-label for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:
Also Check: Heightened Sense Of Smell Perimenopause
Supplemental Calcium And Vitamin D
Supplementary calcium and vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis if you arent getting enough of these nutrients from your diet.
Women ages 19 to 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day through food or supplements. Women over age 51 should get 1,200 milligrams per day.
A recommended daily amount of vitamin D is around . For adult women, most doctors recommend 600-800 IU through food or supplements.
Do Phytoestrogen Treatments Reduce The Number And Severity Of Hot Flushes And Are They Safe And Acceptable
Cochrane evidenceCochrane Reviews are systematic reviews. In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question . The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. More: A Cochrane review includes 43 randomisedRandomization is the process of randomly dividing into groups the people taking part in a trial. One group will be given the intervention being tested and compared with a group which does not receive the intervention . Morecontrolled trialsA trial in which a group is given a intervention being tested is compared with a group which does not receive the intervention . More with over 4000 women, but many were small, brief and poor quality, and looked at many different types of phytoestrogens.
There is no conclusive evidence to show that phytoestrogen supplements effectively reduce the frequency or severity of hot flushes and night sweats in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.
What Is The Menopause
Menopause consists of three stages:
- The menopause transition . These are the years leading up to the final menstrual period and the year after the final menstrual period. During this time, changes in your hormones may lead to symptoms such as hot flushes and changes in menstrual bleeding patterns. Night sweats can cause sleep disturbances and affect your mood and concentration during the day. Some women are still able to conceive during the menopause transition so you should continue to use contraception until at least twelve months after your final period if you dont wish to become pregnant.
- Natural menopause is the spontaneous, permanent end to menstrual periods that is not caused by medical treatment or surgery. It is confirmed by twelve consecutive months of no menstrual bleeding.
- Postmenopause is the time beyond one year after your final menstrual bleeding and lasts for the rest of your life.
Read Also: How To Increase Breast Size After Menopause
Factors Related To Timing Of Menopause
Results from cross-sectional studies have indicated that endocrine changes characteristic of the onset of the perimenopause begin at around age 45. The median age at menopause among white women from industrialized countries ranges between 50 and 52 years and at onset of the perimenopause is 47.5 years, with slight evidence of increasing age at menopause over time. These onsets seem to vary by race and ethnicity and are affected by demographic and lifestyle factors.,,, Although some studies have reported no familial relationship, 1 study has reported that age at menopause was positively associated with maternal age at menopause, and 1 recent study has shown genetic control of age at menopause in a study of twins. However, a number of potentially modifiable factors which may affect estrogen metabolism, including body mass index , diet , and passive smoke exposure have not been examined, nor has the time-varying effect of these and of the other factors that have been previously identified been examined in longitudinal analyses of sufficiently large and diverse study populations.
How Is Premature Menopause Early Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Diagnosed
If you begin to have symptoms of menopause before the age of 40, your healthcare provider will do several tests and ask questions to help diagnose premature or early menopause. These tests can include:
- Asking about the regularity of your menstrual periods.
- Discussing your family history of menopause at an early age.
- Testing your hormone levels .
- Looking for other medical conditions that may be contributing to your symptoms.
Women who have not had a menstrual period for 12 straight months, and are not on any medication that could stop menstruation, may have gone through menopause.
Don’t Miss: Relactation After Menopause
Ht Forms And Regimens
HT comes in several forms:
- Oral tablets or pills
- Vaginal ring
- Topical gel or spray
HT pills and skin patches are considered “systemic” therapy because the medication delivered affects the entire body. The risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers is higher with hormone pills than with skin patches or other transdermal forms.
Vaginal forms of HT are called “local” therapy. Doctors generally prescribe vaginal applications of low-dose estrogen therapy to specifically treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex. This type of ET is available in a cream, tablet, or ring that is inserted into the vagina.
“Bioidentical” hormone therapy is promoted as a supposedly more natural and safer alternative to commercial prescription hormones. Bioidentical hormones are typically compounded in a pharmacy. Some compounding pharmacies claim that they can customize these formulations based on saliva tests that show a woman’s individual hormone levels.
The FDA and many professional medical associations warn patients that “bioidentical” is a marketing term that has no scientific validity. Formulations sold in these pharmacies have not undergone FDA regulatory scrutiny. Some of these compounds contain estriol, a weak form of estrogen, which has not been approved by the FDA for use in any drug. In addition, saliva tests do not give accurate or realistic results, as a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day.
The Body Still Produces Hormones
The body does not stop producing estrogen after menopause. Estrogen plays a role in various essential functions, and the body still needs some estrogen, although in smaller amounts.
However, estrogen will no longer come from the ovaries. Instead, the adrenal glands produce hormones called androgens, and aromatase, which is another hormone, converts them into estrogen.
Why does the body need estrogen? Find out here.
Recommended Reading: Does The Texture Of Hair Change With Menopause
Is 50 Too Old To Have A Baby
Having a baby after age 35 is more common than ever, but the buck doesnt stop there. Plenty of women are successfully having babies in their 40s and 50s, too. Weve all heard about the tick-tock, tick-tock of that biological clock, and its true age can make a difference in terms of natural conception.
What Are The Symptoms Of Premature Menopause
Symptoms of premature menopause are often the same as those experienced by women undergoing natural menopause and may include:
- Irregular or missed periods
- Periods that are heavier or lighter than usual
- Hot flashes
These symptoms are a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen.
Along with the above symptoms, some women may experience:
- You have undergone chemotherapy or radiation
- You or a family member has an autoimmune disorder such as hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, or lupus
- You have unsuccessfully tried to become pregnant for more than a year
- Your mother or sister experienced premature menopause
Don’t Miss: Estrogen Dizziness
Menopause And Weight Gain
According to a 2017 article, most people experience some weight gain around menopause, but those who did not have overweight before entering menopause can usually manage this with lifestyle measures.
The Office for Womens Health note that many people gain an average of 5 pounds after menopause.
Reasons for weight gain may include:
- increased hunger due to changes in the hormones that control hunger
- changes to metabolism, due to hormonal factors
- eating less healthfully
- factors relating to midlife
Anyone who has concerns about weight gain should speak to a dietitian or doctor about suitable options, which will likely include dietary and exercise choices. Avoiding excess weight can help reduce the risk of various health problems in the long-term.
People who have obesity before or during menopause are more likely to experience hot flashes and other symptoms. Losing weight can help a person manage some of these challenges.
Click here for some tips on how to manage weight gain around menopause.
Many people say they have difficulty focusing and remembering things during menopause. Some call this brain fog. Stress is a significant factor.
Reasons for stress may include:
- the impact of physical changes
- domestic, professional, and other pressures
- concerns about aging
Ways of managing stress and thinking problems include:
What is brain fog, and who can have it? Find out here.
What Else Affects When A Woman Will Finally Stop Having Menstrual Periods
Researchers continue to explore a number of factors that may influence the timing of menopause.
The level of education a woman has completed is one thing that seems to correlate with menopause timing, says Faubion. Women who have more education tend to go through menopause later, she says.
A study published in January 2020 in JAMA Network Open found that pregnancy and breastfeeding may reduce the risk of early menopause.
How frequently a woman has sex has also been correlated with early menopause. A study published in January 2020 in Royal Society Open Science found that women who had sex at least once a week were less likely to go through menopause compared with women who had sex less than once a month.
Read Also: Is Lightheadedness A Symptom Of Menopause