What Age Does Menopause Start
There are a few different factors that influence when you may enter menopause, including:
- Smoking. People who smoke are more likely to go through menopause sooner and experience more severe symptoms. In fact, a 2012 analysis found a 43% increased risk of menopause occurring before age 50 in women who smoked compared to nonsmokers.
- Family history. If you have a family history of early menopause, you are more likely to experience an early onset too.
- Certain medical conditions, like Turner Syndrome. Turner syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the X chromosome and can cause ovarian dysfunction, leading to early menopause.
- Surgical removal of your ovaries will lead to menopause but this can be treated with estrogen and/or progesterone replacement or non-hormonal medications. If you have a hysterectomy but your ovaries are not removed, you will continue to produce estrogen so will not likely experience menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Much of the treatment plan will depend on the age at which you have your ovaries removed.
When Can You Expect Perimenopause
Chances are, if youre between the ages of 45-50, your irregular periods are a sign of perimenopause. The average age a woman starts the menopausal transition is 47.
While we cannot predict when this will occur for you, the age your mother began to experience symptoms may be a good indicator. Smokers tend to reach menopause earlier than non smokers as well.
Of The Reproductive Journey
We usually diagnose menopause in hindsight, after that full year of absent periods. Ive found that most women know theyve reached menopause when they get there.
Even if your irregular periods turn out to be something else, youll face menopause eventually. Talk with your ob-gyn about what youre experiencing. Together we can work through this part of your health journey.
The views expressed in this article are those of Dr. Eisenberg and do not reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.
Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.
This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOGs complete disclaimer.
Dr. Esther Eisenberg
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More Meaning For Mother’s Day
Who knew that a single question could provide so many insights? Now, while all this science is undeniably cool, Mothers Day is about much more than things like fertility and menopause. We celebrate Mothers Day by honoring the many individuals who nurture and care, whether or not we spent nine months chilling out in their uterus. We also understand this holiday can be difficult, perhaps if youre struggling to conceive or have lost your mom. So, to all the a dog moms, volunteers, mother-in-laws, teachers, new mothers, best friends, aunties, partners, caregivers, godmothers, and plant mamas out there: Happy Mothers Day from all of us at Modern Fertility. Were here to support you, no matter where you are on your fertility journey.
What Are Premature Menopause Early Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
Premature menopause and early menopause are conditions where a woman goes through menopause at an earlier age than is typically expected. Both conditions can result in women being unable to become pregnant. If there is no obvious medical or surgical cause for the premature menopause, this is called primary ovarian insufficiency . Primary ovarian insufficiency is also referred to as premature ovarian insufficiency.
The name premature ovarian failure is no longer used because women who are told they have early menopause can have intermittent ovulation, menstrual bleeding or even pregnancy after being told they have ovarian failure.
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Is There A Difference Between Premature Ovarian Failure Andmenopause
Menopause usually occurs on average around age 51. Premature ovarian failure can occur at any age before 40, usually on average around age 27. When a woman experiences menopause, she no longer has follicles to produce into eggs and therefore no longer gets her menstrual period.
A woman with premature ovarian failure, or premature menopause, may still have follicles, but there may be a depletion or dysfunction of these. Therefore, she can still get her period however, most of the time her period is irregular. Irregular periods are one of the signs for POF. Keep in mind that there may be other explanations for an irregular period. Always discuss any irregularity in your menstrual cycle with your healthcare provider.
What Are The Stages Leading Up To Menopause
After puberty, there are three other phases of female fertility:
- Pre-menopause: Women have full ovarian function, regularly produce estrogen and ovulate.
- Perimenopause: The ovaries begin to fluctuate in their ovulation and production of estrogen, which can result in unpredictable menstrual cycles and symptoms.
- Menopause: When the ovaries have shut down. Someone would be in menopause after 12 months without menses.
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Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
Estrogen deficiency throws off how the brain regulates body temperature, and this may lead to hot flashes. A hot flash is a sudden, intense feeling of heat or burning in the face, neck, and chest, often accompanied by redness.
A night sweat refers to a hot flash that occurs during sleep. Night sweats can negatively impact your sleep cycle, which may lead to tiredness during the day.
What’s The First Sign Of Perimenopause
The first perimenopause sign is typically a disruption of your menstrual cycle. For many women, your period starts earlier or later than normal. For example, if your menstrual cycle has always been 28 days, during perimenopause, your period could come as early as 21 or as late as 35 days. Some women start skipping months entirely and then experience heavier-than-normal periods when they do have them.
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Symptoms Of Early Menopause
The main symptom of early menopause is periods becoming infrequent or stopping altogether without any other reason .
Some women may also get other typical menopausal symptoms, including:
Read more about the symptoms of the menopause.
Poor Sleeping Patterns Or Insomnia
During both perimenopause and menopause, a womanâs ovaries stop producing as many progesterone hormones.
This is an issue because these hormones help promote sleep.
This can be highly unsettling, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, the disturbed balance in these specific hormone levels can cause difficulty in both sleeping and the ability to fall asleep.
In addition, lowered estrogen levels can make you more likely to be influenced by environmental factors, which can lead to disruptions in your sleep.
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.
An Early First Menstrual Period May Lead To Premature Menopause
How do you know if you’re starting perimenopause?
The most telling symptom is changes in your menstrual cycle, says psychiatrist Hadine Joffe, the executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“It’s the menstrual cycle pattern that really defines this lead-up to menopause,” she says. During perimenopause, periods “might be shorter, then a long one, or then a skipped one, or then the flow might be different,” says Joffe.
There’s no blood or hormone test that can “diagnose” perimenopause. Joffe says a hormone test isn’t helpful because hormonal cycles become erratic and unpredictable during this stage.
“There’s not really one point in time when a hormone test is done that can be definitive,” she says. Even if you took several tests over time, “you might get a very different readout.”
Surprisingly, sometimes doctors aren’t prepared to help women recognize the start of this life phase. Edrie was upset at her doctors’ responses â or lack thereof. “I felt so disappointed in the medical industry. How many women has my OB/GYN seen and not recognized the symptoms of perimenopause?”
What symptoms to expect
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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.
What Are The Effects Of Early Or Premature Menopause
But some women with early or premature menopause may also have:
- Higher risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease and osteoporosis, since women will live longer without the health benefits of higher estrogen levels. Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps to lower your risk for these health problems.
- More severe menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor or nurse about treatments to help with symptoms if they affect your daily life.
- Sadness or depression over the early loss of fertility or the change in their bodies. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression, including less energy or a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed that lasts longer than a few weeks. Your doctor or nurse can recommend specialists who can help you deal with your feelings. Your doctor or nurse can also discuss options, such as adoption or donor egg programs, if you want to have children.
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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.
Induced Menopause Following Prophylactic Bilateral Oophorectomy
Approximately 1 in 9 women aged 35â45 years has undergone hysterectomy, with 40 percent undergoing bilateral oophorectomy at the same time, resulting in the abrupt onset of menopause . The practice of prophylactic oophorectomy has increased over time and more than doubled between 1965 and 1990 . Meanwhile, reports now link induced menopause from bilateral oophorectomy with serious health consequences including premature death, cardiovascular and neurologic disease, and osteoporosis, in addition to menopausal symptoms, psychiatric symptoms, and impaired sexual function.
4.2.1. Mortality and cardiovascular disease
The Mayo Clinic Cohort Study of Oophorectomy and Aging involved a population-based sample of 4,780 women and reported increased all-cause mortality in women who underwent prophylactic bilateral oophorectomy before age 45 years . The increased mortality was mainly observed in women who did not take estrogen after the surgery and up until age 45 years . Cardiovascular mortality was also increased in the women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy before age 45 years and did not take estrogen .
In summary, data consistently show an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in women who undergo bilateral oophorectomy inducing premature menopause or early menopause. Estrogen replacement proximate to bilateral oophorectomy appears to be particularly important for reducing premature coronary heart disease and death in this group of women.
4.2.2. Neurologic outcomes
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But Experiencing Menopause At Work Is Not Always Negative In Fact It Can Be A Gateway To A Better Or More Improved Career
The physical symptoms of menopause arent fun, but the transition can also be a positive, freeing experience.
Omisade Burney-Scott, a North Carolina-based social justice advocate and the creator of The Black Girls Guide to Surviving Menopause, a podcast and multimedia project, said that too often menopause is reduced to a stereotype of hot, sweaty, angry people without any context.
I feel like its giving me more permission to be really, really clear about the things that bring me joy, like the things that I enjoy doing, or the things that I enjoy offering or feel confident about offering to a workspace, or to social justice work or creative work, she said. And that feels really liberating.
It requires a level of focus on yourself that you may not have engaged in before.Tina Opie, founder of the Opie Consulting Group
The experience pushed Claire Hattrick into pursuing a long-held passion. The esthetician and blogger lives in Hampshire in Britain, a country where 900,000 women reported that they quit their jobs due to menopause symptoms in 2019.
When she went through menopause, Hattrick had horrendous joint pain that caused her to have to lie down on the floor between waxing clients. It eventually pushed her to work fewer hours, switch up the types of beauty treatments she performed and start blogging about her life, which ultimately turned into an additional career path.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
How Can You Alleviate Perimenopausal Symptoms
Some women deal with the symptoms of perimenopause, and some women seek treatment for specific health concerns. Women with heavy bleeding, periods that last longer than seven days, spotting between periods or cycles that are less than 21 days should contact a doctor.
Typically, perimenopause is a gradual transition, and no particular test indicates what is happening to the body. Hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen treatments and antidepressants can help treat perimenopausal symptoms.
Start by identifying what’s bothering you most and then working with your doctor to address it. There are steps you can take to feel better. Lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in easing perimenopausal symptoms and improving your overall health include:
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Can Early Menopause Be Reversed
Early menopause cant usually be reversed, but treatment can help delay or reduce the symptoms of menopause.
Researchers are investigating new ways to help women who are in menopause to have children. In 2016, scientists in Greece announced a new treatment that enabled them to restore menstruation and retrieve eggs from a small group of women who were in perimenopause.
This treatment made headlines as a way to reverse menopause, but little is known about how well it works.
The scientists reported treating more than 30 women, ages 46 to 49, by injecting platelet-rich plasma into their ovaries. PRP is sometimes used to promote tissue healing, but the treatment hasnt been proven to be effective for any purpose.
The scientists claimed the treatment worked for two-thirds of the women treated. However, the research has been criticized for its small size and lack of control groups. Though the research might have potential for the future, its not a realistic treatment option right now.
Risk Factors For Early Menopause
Premature ovarian failure affects about 1 out of every 1000 women from ages 15 to 29 and about 1 out of every 100 women aged 30 to 39. It can be related to genetic factors, to illnesses like autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease, viral infection, hormonal disorders, and eating disorders. The risk of premature ovarian failure risk increases in women who have relatives with the condition.
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