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Can You Get The Menopause In Your 20s

What Else Affects When A Woman Will Finally Stop Having Menstrual Periods

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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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Spontaneous Premature Ovarian Failure Or Early Menopause

Premature ovarian failure , also now referred to as primary ovarian insufficiency or primary ovarian dysfunction , is a syndrome of amenorrhea, low sex steroid levels, and elevated gonadotropin levels among women younger than age 40 years. POF is most frequently idiopathic but may also be due to autoimmune disorders, genetic causes, infections or inflammatory conditions, enzyme deficiencies, or metabolic syndromes . POF is reported to affect approximately 1% of women under age 40 years and spontaneous early menopause is reported to affect approximately 5% of women between ages 40 and 45 years .

POF has been found to be associated with intermittent ovarian function in nearly half of the women affected . While spontaneous or induced return of ovarian function is possible, most women with POF experience sustained sex steroid deficiency for longer periods compared with women who experienced spontaneous menopause around the median age. Thus, POF and other causes of premature spontaneous menopause are generally classified together when evaluating long-term health outcomes.

Diagnosis Of Premature Or Early Menopause

Premature and early menopause is diagnosed using a number of tests including:

  • medical history, family history and medical examination
  • investigations to rule out other causes of amenorrhoea , such as pregnancy, extreme weight loss, other hormone disturbances and some diseases of the reproductive system
  • investigations into other conditions associated with premature or early menopause, such as autoimmune diseases
  • genetic tests to check for the presence of genetic conditions associated with premature or early menopause
  • blood tests to check hormone levels.

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I Got My First Period Early Does That Mean Ill Go Through Menopause Early

I have many patients tell me, I know Im going to go through menopause earlier because I started my period really early, says Streicher. The reason women think that is because they think menopause occurs when you run out of eggs. This isnt going to happen were born with millions of eggs and many of those are never used. When you go through menopause is really about the aging of eggs and what causes them to age more quickly, she says.

The average age of menarche in the United States has gotten younger for a variety of reasons, but that hasnt made women go through menopause earlier, she points out.

Take Stock Of Your Lifestyle And Implement Positive Changes

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Dr Adib recommends focusing on a good diet, and exercising regularly exploring both cardiovascular exercise, to keep your heart strong, as well as weight-bearing exercise, to keep your bones healthy and to prevent osteoporosis .

I recommend a mainly plant-based diet: you can get plant oestrogen through flax, Alfalfa sprouts and soy products. You can take supplements like red clover which is also a weak plant oestrogen and has shown to be safe. A tepid bath or taking shade can help hot flushes. If youre not sleeping, try valerian and chamomile. There is good evidence also that mindfulness cognitive-based approaches are very helpful.

By Hannah Coates

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Getting Support For Early Menopause

Going through the menopause early can be difficult and upsetting.

Permanent early menopause affects your ability to have children.

You may need fertility treatment using donated eggs. You can use your own eggs if you had some stored.

Surrogacy and adoption may also be options for you.

Counselling and support groups may be helpful:

  • The Daisy Network a support group for premature ovarian failure
  • Cancer.ie provides information about menopausal symptoms after cancer treatment

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 8 July 2021 Next review due: 8 July 2024

Womens Wellness: 5 Things To Know About Early Menopause

So you missed a period. Or two. You think to yourself, Im too young for menopause. Right?

Not necessarily. Early menopause, between the ages of 40 and 45, affects about 5 percent of women. Premature menopause, before age 40, affects about 1 percent of women.

You are said to be in menopause if you have gone a full 12 months with no menstrual period. Thats when your ovaries stop making estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones necessary to maintain your menstrual cycles and fertility. For most women, menopause occurs naturally at about age 51. With increasing life expectancy, many women will spend up to 40 percent of their lives in the postmenopausal stage.

For some women, menopause is induced early because of treatments needed to save their lives, such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. For others, its genetic conditions, autoimmune disorders or even unknown reasons that bring about this change.

So, without a big neon billboard saying, Welcome to Menopause, what should you do? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know about Early Menopause:

3. Your family plans may change. If you wish to have a family, you may need to consider options such as freezing embryos or eggs. If you had planned to have children, you may need to allow yourself to envision a new dream, such as building your family through in vitro fertilization with donor eggs, adoption or surrogacy.

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How Long Will Menopausal Transition Symptoms Last

Menopause is technically one full year without bleeding, and perimenopause is the stage before the final menstrual period, also known as the menopausal transition. Puberty and perimenopause are similar in that they both involve hormonal changes, and the transitions can take place over several years. Some medical organizations, such as the American Osteopathic Association, refer to perimenopause as reverse puberty in women.

According to NAMS, this phase can last four to eight years, and it comes with symptoms caused by hormone fluctuations, such as mood swings, poor sleep, and hot flashes.

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The age at which a woman begins perimenopause can help predict how long the transition to menopause will last, according to research published in the journal Menopause in February 2017. The authors found that perimenopause lasted longer in women who started the transition at a younger age, and the women had more symptoms, such as hot flashes.

General Recommendations For Ht

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Current guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of severe hot flashes that do not respond to non-hormonal therapies. General recommendations include:

  • HT may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
  • HT should not be used in women who have started menopause many years ago.
  • Women should not take HT if they have risks for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
  • Currently, there is no consensus on how long HT should be used or at what age it should be discontinued. Treatment should be individualized for a woman’s specific health profile.
  • HT should be used only for menopause symptom management, not for chronic disease prevention.

Initiating Therapy

Before starting HT, your doctor should give you a comprehensive physical exam and take your medical history to evaluate your risks for:

  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Breast cancer

While taking HT, you should have regular mammograms and pelvic exams and Pap smears. Current guidelines recommend that if HT is needed, it should be initiated around the time of menopause. Studies indicate that the risk of serious side effects is lower for women who use HT while in their 50s. Women who start HT past the age of 60 appear to have a higher risk for side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or breast cancer. HT should be used with care in this age group.

Discontinuing Therapy

Safety Concerns

Women who should not take hormone therapy include those with the following conditions:

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Other Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause

Some other symptoms of menopause include:

Certain lifestyle changes can ease hot flashes and some other menopause symptoms. A person can try:

  • limiting alcohol, spicy food, and caffeine if these make symptoms worse
  • using a portable fan or water mister when hot flash symptoms appear
  • dressing in layers so that it is easier to remove clothing and cool off
  • quitting smoking, if applicable
  • practicing meditation, mindfulness, and other mind-body interventions, which can ease stress and may help with hot flashes
  • breathing slowly and deeply during a hot flash

Paroxetine , a type of antidepressant, may help relieve hot flashes in cases where lifestyle changes are ineffective, or a person wants to avoid taking hormonal medications.

Most people take the drug at lower dosages than they would for depression. However, when someone experiences depression along with menopause, a doctor may recommend a higher dosage.

Hormone replacement therapy replaces the bodyâs natural hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. As declining hormone levels can cause many menopause symptoms, HRT often provides relief.

HRT may increase the risk of stroke, blood clots, heart attack, gallbladder disease, and breast cancer, so it is important to talk with a doctor to weigh up the risks and benefits.

The safest strategy is to take hormones at the lowest effective dosage and for the shortest possible time.

Going Through Menopause In Your 20s And 30s Sucks

  • Snap

“I’m self-conscious of sweating. Now I have to think about what clothes I’m going to wear. One day I thought I’d be fine and I wore a pale grey T-shirt to work and that was a disaster. The hot flushes are crazythey come out of nowhere at any time and I’m suddenly drenched in sweat.”

Sophie is 31 years old. She works as a television producer at an advertising agency in England. Like many young professionals, her priorities include her career, a mortgage, maybe marriage. She didn’t plan to add menopause to that list.

Read More: Living with PMS That Makes You Want to Die

The Londoner suffers from severe endometriosis. Her endometriumthe cells that line her wombhave migrated to other parts of her body. In Sophie’s case, that means her uterus and bowels. These cells follow her menstrual cycle, building and then breaking up and bleeding when she has her period. But unlike regular cells in the womb that are shed during menstruation, the excess blood has no way of being released and leads to chronic pain, heavy periods, inflammation, and the formation of scar tissue.

In order to prepare for an operation to have this excess endometrium cut out, Sophie was injected with Zoladex, a man-made hormone used to effectively switch off her period for three months. This will tame the endometrium, making it less bloody and easier to manage.

They did some blood tests and said, ‘Right, you’ve just been through menopause. That’s it. We can’t do anything about it. Off you go.’

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How Do I Know If I Am Going Through Early Or Premature Menopause

You know you have gone through menopause when you have not had your period for 12 months in a row. If you think you may be reaching menopause early, talk to your doctor or nurse.

  • Your doctor or nurse will ask you about your symptoms, such as hot flashes, irregular periods, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness.
  • Your doctor or nurse may give you a blood test to measure estrogen and related hormones, like . You may choose to get tested if you want to know whether you can still get pregnant. Your doctor or nurse will test your hormone levels in the first few days of your menstrual cycle .

Does The Age My Mother Reached Menopause Mean Anything

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Most likely your moms age at menopause will provide a clue. When we look at the things that are the greatest determinants for when someone is going to go through menopause, genetics seems to be one of the most important things, says Streicher.

A womans race or ethnicity can influence when she goes through menopause, too, she says. Findings from the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation indicate that women of color tend to begin perimenopause and menopause at earlier ages than white women.

RELATED: What Experts Want BIPOC Women to Know About Menopause

The question I always ask women when they ask when theyre going to go through menopause is, When did your mom go through menopause? because that is very often predictive, says Streicher.

Theres a lot of truth in that. You may follow what happened with your mother if she went through menopause early or late, you may, too, she says.

Certain medical conditions such as autoimmune problems, thyroid issues, and lupus can make a woman go through menopause earlier, adds Streicher.

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Your Nipples Will Get Darker

As your boobs get bigger during pregnancy, the area around your nipples will too. They might also get darker. And itâs all due to those hormonal changes.

âAn increase in estrogen and progesterone causes pigmentation changes in the nipples and areolae,â Dr. Sherry Ross, MD, an OB/GYN and womenâs health expert at Providence Saint Johnâs Health Center, tells Bustle. âYou will begin to see these color changes and see veins under the breasts to become more noticeable as pregnancy progresses.â

Your Boobs Could Be Different Sizes

If your boobs have always been different sizes since puberty, chances are theyâll continue to be that way as you get older. Horton says uneven boobs arenât likely to magically match one day. About 90% of boobs are uneven in some way, according to University of Utah faculty member Dr. Kirtly Jones. And often to a very noticeable degree. That said, if your boob size has always been fairly even, but now one of them suddenly looks larger, let your doctor know.

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You Might Start To Feel Comfier In A Bra

Whether or not you wear a bra while hiking, jogging on a treadmill, or trying out a new HIIT workout is completely up to you, but Ross says itâs not uncommon for 20- or 30-somethings to suddenly feel like they want a little extra support.

If you donât wear a bra, âthe delicate and sensitive breast tissue could bounce and move in such a way where pain can occur,â she says. This is particularly true if your breasts have recently gotten bigger or if you have PMS.

Finding Support For Premature Menopause

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It can be a shock to experience menopause in your 20s. In fact, for many, premature menopause comes with mixed emotions, including sadness, anxiety, and frustration. This change can be especially hard if your plans include pregnancy and childbirth, since premature menopause can make it harder to have children.

Whether youre experiencing physical, psychological, or emotional symptoms, its important to take good care of yourself during this transition. Think about whether a therapist, a nutritionist, a support group, or other specialists could benefit you.

Here are some places where you may be able to find support:

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Other Symptoms Of Surgical Menopause

There are a number of other symptoms of surgical menopause, although some of them are believed to also be caused by increasing age.

These symptoms include:

  • Mood changes, like depression and anxiety
  • Weight gain, especially around the waist
  • Dry skin and hair loss
  • Increased urinary problems, especially urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence

Menopausal symptoms tend to be more intense for people who have undergone surgical removal of their ovaries than for those who experience menopause naturally. However, menopausal symptoms vary widely and in degree from person to person.

This greater intensity of menopausal symptoms is attributed to the abrupt removal of the ovaries, which are a primary source of estrogen. In natural menopause, the ovaries gradually lose their ability to produce estrogen, so the body can adjust more easily.

Perimenopause: Rocky Road To Menopause

What are the signs of perimenopause? You’re in your 40s, you wake up in a sweat at night, and your periods are erratic and often accompanied by heavy bleeding: Chances are, you’re going through perimenopause. Many women experience an array of symptoms as their hormones shift during the months or years leading up to menopause that is, the natural end of menstruation. Menopause is a point in time, but perimenopause is an extended transitional state. It’s also sometimes referred to as the menopausal transition, although technically, the transition ends 12 months earlier than perimenopause .

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Diagnosis Of Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

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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