HomePopularCan A Woman Go Through Menopause At 40

Can A Woman Go Through Menopause At 40

Menopause Symptoms At Age 40

What is perimenopause, and at what age does a woman experience it?

For the vast majority of women, menopause symptoms dont start this early. If menopause happens before age 40, its called premature menopause. If it happens between age 40 and age 45, its known as early menopause. Fewer than 10 percent of women experience premature or early menopause.

But if youre in your early 40s and are regularly experiencing symptoms such as changes to your periods timing or flow, hot flashes, mood changes or sleep problems, dont ignore them. Talk with a womens health specialist.

A specialist like an OB-GYN or certified nurse-midwife can work with you to determine whether your symptoms are related to menopause, or another reason such as hormonal disorders or other health conditions.

Hormonal Changes And Weight Gain

As you approach menopause, the levels of estrogen in your body drop rapidly. At the same time, levels of a hormone called androgen increase . This can cause a hormonal imbalance, which in and of itself can cause weight gain.

People who have a hormonal imbalance may also experience a new level of hunger. You may also notice that youre hungry for different types of foods. Just like your periods might make you crave salty, sweet, and carb-rich foods due to hormonal shifts, menopause can do the same.

The average weight gain for women during and after menopause is around .

What Herbs And Supplements Help Menopause Symptoms

Black cohosh is a commonly used herbal supplement that is believed to reduce hot flashes. However, small German studies that tested black cohosh only followed women over a short time period. The German agency that regulates herbs does not recommend using black cohosh for longer than 6 months. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual problems, slow heartbeat, and excessive sweating. Black cohosh is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , so women must be careful about the safety and purity of this supplement.

Plant estrogens such as soy protein are a popular remedy for hot flashes, although data on their effectiveness are limited. Phytoestrogens are natural plant estrogens , which are thought to have effects similar to estrogen therapy. The safety of soy in women who have a history of breast cancer has not been established, although clinical studies indicate soy is no more effective for treating symptoms than a placebo. Soy comes from soybeans and is also called miso or tempeh. The best food sources are raw or roasted soybeans, soy flour, soy milk, and tofu. Soy sauce and soy oil do not contain isoflavones.

Herbals: Inconclusive and conflicting studies indicate that other herbals, such as dong quai, red clover , chasteberry , yam cream, Chinese medicinal herbs, and evening primrose oil, should be avoided or taken with care under the supervision of a health care professional to avoid unwanted and dangerous side effects and interactions.

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Top Tips For Managing Weight At Menopause

Has reading this far made you depressed and discouraged? Dont be. While you cannot prevent menopause, you can prevent some of its negative health impacts through diet and lifestyle changes.

Remember, however, good health is more than simply a number on the scale. As we have noted in other places on our site, you do not have complete control over how much weight you lose, how fast you lose it, and what body parts you lose it from. Managing these expectations is part of long-term success. Make sure you read our guide on setting expectations.

Predicting Natural Menopause: Why Does Age Matter

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If theres not a lot that women can do to change when theyll experience menopause, why does predicting it even matter?

It would be helpful for every woman to know exactly when menopause will arrive. Beyond recognizing and addressing issues such as increased cardiovascular disease risk and risks related to bone health, if a woman knows her age of menopause and how long the perimenopause transition will last, it could help her make important health decisions, says Faubion.

If youre bleeding like crazy it would be helpful to know, she says.

As of now, research hasnt uncovered a way to determine when a women will go into menopause, but having that information could be useful in making decisions such as whether to have a hysterectomy or other invasive procedures, says Faubion. If menopause is going to be a few months or a year from now, you may choose to wait it out if it’s going to be five years from now, you might want to go ahead and have an invasive procedure, she says.

The ability to predict when menopause will occur could also help with managing menopause symptoms or deciding which type of birth control to use, adds Faubion.

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Hot Flashes During Perimenopause

Most women don’t expect to have hot flashes until , so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes sometimes called hot flushes and given the scientific name of vasomotor symptoms are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. They’re also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.

Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire “from the inside out.” A major hot flash can induce facial and upper-body flushing, sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion. Having one of these at an inconvenient time can be quite disconcerting. Hot flash frequency varies widely. Some women have a few over the course of a week others may experience 10 or more in the daytime, plus some at night.

Most American women have hot flashes around the time of menopause, but studies of other cultures suggest this experience is not universal. Far fewer Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian women report having hot flashes. In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, women appear not to have any at all. These differences may reflect cultural variations in perceptions, semantics, and lifestyle factors, such as diet.

Emotional Impact Of Early Or Premature Menopause

Premature menopause can be emotionally devastating. Some of the common issues women may face include:

  • grief at the prospect of not having children
  • fear of ‘growing old before their time’
  • concern that their partner wont find them sexually attractive anymore
  • self-esteem problems.

Psychological counselling and support groups may help women come to terms with their experience of early or premature menopause.

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What Age Is Considered Early For Menopause

If you reach menopause before age 40, that is considered premature menopause, says Faubion. This occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of women, she says.

Experiencing menopause at 40 to 45 years of age is called early menopause, and that occurs in about 5 to 7 percent of the population, so its safe to say that at least 7 percent of women are going to go through menopause early or prematurely, says Faubion. Menopause at age 46 or older is considered normal, she says.

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Understanding Menopause

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.

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How Do I Know If I Am In Menopause

Menopause is defined as 12 consecutive months without having a menstrual cycle. If you are currently not having periods, but it has not yet been 12 full months, you might be in menopause, but you cannot be sure until you have gone a full year without having a period.

Some cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can also lead to medical menopause, which can be temporary or permanent.

Responses To Loss Of Fertility

For some women, early or premature menopause can take away the possibility of becoming a mother. Some women have said, ‘I wasn’t sure if I even wanted children’, or, ‘I didn’t know if I wanted more children’, but when the power to make that decision is taken away, it can seem unfair. Early or premature menopause can mean the longed-for role of motherhood might not happen or, if it happens, it may not be in the way you anticipated. How this feels and the impact it has will depend on your individual circumstances, support networks and coping skills.

Some women with early or premature menopause feel they have to take on a role they did not expect until they were in their 50s that of a menopausal woman. They might even experience menopause before their mother.

Sometimes we have many roles, which we overlook when we focus strongly on wanting to fulfil one particular one. Some women forget they are also partners, daughters, sisters, friends, aunties, granddaughters, workers, neighbours, caregivers. Thinking about these other roles does not necessarily take away all the pain of loss, but it can help to shift the focus.

There are also other constructive ways to think about your role in life. For example, if you think your role is to be a mother, explore the steps you can take to achieve this perhaps donor eggs or adoption are options. It can be helpful to seek counselling to help you with your decision-making.

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Psychological Wellbeing & Emotions

The diagnosis of a premature or early menopause can bring many changes and challenges: when menopause does not come at the age and stage of life you expected it to, it can have a major impact on your wellbeing. Women who experience premature or early menopause can be at greater risk of depression, anxiety and mood changes.

It can be very upsetting for some women to experience menopause in their 20s or 30s when they expected it to happen in their late 40s or 50s. Often this is a time of feelings of loss, sadness and grief. These feelings are very common, along with the feelings of losing your body image, fertility, femininity and sexuality, and feeling old before your time.

It can take some time to diagnose a premature or early menopause. Not knowing what is wrong, having no control over symptoms and not knowing what the future holds can be frightening. Some women with early menopause talk of ‘loss of womanhood’ and ‘loss of dreams’.

Associated illnesses, such as cancer and chemotherapy or surgery to remove ovaries, may also alter the course of your life. Plans, dreams and expectations must be re-thought and that can be very challenging and distressing.

During this time, women can experience a sense of loss of control, loss of ability to plan and loss of self-image, but often there is no one with whom to share the grief. Girlfriends might not understand because they are not yet experiencing menopause, and, for some, mothers haven’t yet reached menopause either.

Diagnosis Of Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

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If you have irregular periods or have stopped your periods for more than three months, please see your doctor and make sure your doctor includes hormone tests to exclude early menopause.

Your doctor will need to do a full physical examination and investigate the cause of your symptoms.

The criteria for a diagnosis of POI are:

  • at least three months without a period
  • two blood tests to confirm whether the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone are more than 40IU/l the two tests need to be performed on the third day of your period and at least one month apart.

A doctor is likely to perform the following tests:

  • pregnancy test, FSH and Oestradiol
  • prolactin this is the hormone usually involved with breastfeeding, but when raised, it causes periods to stop
  • transvaginal ultrasound this is an internal ultrasound of the vagina and uterus to check for evidence the ovary is functioning by:
  • counting the number and size of the follicles or eggs in the ovary
  • measuring the volume of the ovaries
  • assessing the thickness of the lining of the uterus or endometrium
  • checking for any blockage that is stopping menstrual blood flow.

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Emotional And Cognitive Symptoms

Women in perimenopause often report a variety of thinking and/or emotional symptoms, including fatigue, memory problems, irritability, and rapid changes in mood. It is difficult to determine exactly which behavioral symptoms are due directly to the hormonal changes of menopause. Research in this area has been difficult for many reasons.

Emotional and cognitive symptoms are so common that it is sometimes difficult in a given woman to know if they are due to menopause. The night sweats that may occur during perimenopause can also contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue, which can have an effect on mood and cognitive performance. Finally, many women may be experiencing other life changes during the time of perimenopause or after menopause, such as stressful life events, that may also cause emotional symptoms.

Vaginal Dryness And Discomfort

Vaginal dryness, itching, and discomfort may start during perimenopause and continue into menopause. A person with any of these symptoms may experience chafing and discomfort during vaginal sex. Also, if the skin breaks, this can increase the risk of infection.

Atrophic vaginitis, which involves thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal wall, can sometimes occur during menopause.

Various moisturizers, lubricants, and medications can relieve vaginal dryness and associated issues.

Learn more about atrophic vaginitis here.

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Treatment For Early Or Premature Menopause

There is no treatment available to make the ovaries start working again.

Rarely, the ovaries may spontaneously start working again, for reasons unknown. According to some studies, about one in 10 women who are diagnosed with premature ovarian insufficiency get pregnant, for reasons that are not yet clear.

Women with early menopause have a long period of postmenopausal life, which means they are at increased risk of health problems such as early onset of osteoporosis and heart disease. For this reason, it is recommended that they take some form of hormone therapy until they reach the typical age of menopause . This may be the combined oestrogen and progestogen oral contraceptive pill, or menopausal hormone therapy .

Either option treats menopausal symptoms and reduces the risk of early onset of osteoporosis and heart disease.

What Causes Menopause Does Every Woman Go Through Menopause

At what age do women reach menopause?

Yes, every woman will experience menopause. Menopause occurs due to a complex series of hormonal changes. Associated with the menopause is a decline in the number of functioning eggs within the ovaries. At the time of birth, most females have about 1 to 3 million eggs, which are gradually lost throughout a woman’s life. By the time of a girl’s first menstrual period, she has an average of about 400,000 eggs. By the time of menopause, a woman may have fewer than 10,000 eggs. A small percentage of these eggs are lost through normal ovulation . Most eggs die off through a process called atresia .

  • Normally, FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone , is the substance responsible for the growth of ovarian follicles during the first half of a woman’s menstrual cycle. As menopause approaches, the remaining eggs become more resistant to FSH, and the ovaries dramatically reduce their production of estrogen.
  • Estrogen affects many parts of the body, including the blood vessels, heart, bone, breasts, uterus, urinary system, skin, and brain. Loss of estrogen is believed to be the cause of many of the symptoms associated with menopause. At the time of menopause, the ovaries also decrease their production of testosterone — a hormone involved in libido, or sexual drive.

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How Is Menopause In Men Diagnosed

The procedure to diagnose male menopause includes a complete medical history, laboratory tests, and a physical exam. In the medical history, the doctor will discuss childhood development, fertility, any abnormality of the testes, exposure to occupational toxins or medicines, and recent sexual function changes. They will also ask questions to determine the start and severity of several of the male menopause symptoms mentioned above.

During the physical examination, the doctor will palpate the testes to check for consistency and volume and assess secondary sexual characters like breast size, body musculature, and hair distribution. The doctor may conduct a digital rectal exam , especially in men 50 or older to check the size of the prostate.

Laboratory tests are done to measure the levels of testosterone hormone along with other hormones, including follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone . To make a definitive diagnosis of male menopause or androgen deficiency, the doctor must determine and evaluate hormonal levels in relation to the physical symptoms present in a male.

Here’s What Women Need To Know About Early Menopause Which Occurs Between Ages 40 And 45 And Premature Menopause Which Occurs Before Age 40

For Leslie Mac, it started with irregular menstrual periods. Mac, a digital strategist and organizer, didn’t think much of it, but once she started going months without menstruating, she decided to see her doctor. “Something must be wrong,” she remembered thinking.

She was not expecting to hear that, at 28, she had already entered perimenopause, the transition to menopause.

“I didn’t even know it was possible to start the process so early,” Mac explained. By 34, she received a diagnosis of menopause, which is officially diagnosed when a woman goes a year without a menstrual period.

Menopause is a normal part of a woman’s life and signals the end of the reproductive years. In the U.S., this typically occurs around age 51, but 5% of women have early menopause, which occurs between ages 40 and 45, and 1% experience premature menopause, which occurs before age 40.

While age of diagnosis may differ, premature and early menopause follow the same process as usual menopause. As women age, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in their body begin to decline. In premenopausal women, the ovaries produce these hormones in a regular cycle, and they’re important for both reproductive and overall health.

“You have estrogen receptors everywhere in your body,” explained Dr. Barb DePree, director of the Women’s Midlife Services at Holland Hospital, founder of MiddlesexMD and a member of HealthyWomen’s Women’s Health Advisory Council.

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