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How Early Can You Start Menopause

An Early First Menstrual Period May Lead To Premature Menopause

Are there conditions that can cause early 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

What Are The Stages

The process happens slowly over three stages:

Perimenopause. Your cycles will become irregular, but they havenât stopped. Most women hit this stage around age 47. Even though you might notice symptoms like hot flashes, you can still get pregnant.

Menopause. This is when youâll have your final menstrual period. You wonât know for sure itâs happened until youâve gone a year without one. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are common in this stage.

Postmenopause. This begins when you hit the year mark from your final period. Once that happens, youâll be referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that after more than 1 year of no menstrual periods due to menopause, vaginal bleeding isn’t normal, so tell your doctor if you have any ASAP.

Antidepressants And Other Medications

Antidepressant medications: The class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and related medications has been shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes in up to 60% of women. Specifically, venlafaxine , a drug-related to the SSRIs, and the paroxetine , desvenlafaxine , citalopram , and escitalopram have all been shown to decrease the severity of hot flashes in some women. However, antidepressant medications may be associated with side effects, including or sexual dysfunction.

Other medications: Other prescription medications have been shown to provide some relief for hot flashes, although their specific purpose is not the treatment of hot flashes. All of these may have side effects, and their use should be discussed with and monitored by a doctor. Some of these medications that have been shown to help relieve hot flashes include the antiseizure drug gabapentin and clonidine , a drug used to treat high blood pressure.

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What Is Perimenopause Or The Transition To Menopause

Perimenopause , or the menopausal transition, is the time leading up to your last period. Perimenopause means around menopause.

Perimenopause is a long transition to menopause, or the time when your periods stop permanently and you can no longer get pregnant. As your body transitions to menopause, your hormone levels may change randomly, causing menopause symptoms unexpectedly. During this transition, your ovaries make different amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone than usual.

Irregular periods happen during this time because you may not ovulate every month. Your periods may be longer or shorter than usual. You might skip a few months or have unusually long or short menstrual cycles. Your period may be heavier or lighter than before. Many women also have hot flashes and other menopause symptoms during this transition.

What Tests Diagnose Menopause

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Because hormone levels may fluctuate greatly in an individual woman, even from one day to the next, hormone levels are not a reliable method for diagnosing menopause. There is no single blood test that reliably predicts when a woman is going through the menopausal transition, so there is currently no proven role for blood testing to diagnose menopause. The only way to diagnose menopause is to observe the lack of menstrual periods for 12 months in a woman in the expected age range.

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When Does Perimenopause Start

The average age of menopause is 51, and perimenopause symptoms typically begin about four years before your final period. Most women start to notice perimenopause symptoms in their 40s. But perimenopause can happen a little earlier or later, too. The best predictor of when your final period will be is the age at which your mother entered menopause .

How Long Does The Transition To Menopause Last

Perimenopause, the transition to menopause, can last between two and eight years before your periods stop permanently. For most women, this transition to menopause lasts about four years. You will know you have reached menopause only after it has been a full year since your last period. This means you have not had any bleeding, including spotting, for 12 months in a row.

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What Fsh Level Means Perimenopause

FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland the gland located at the base of your brain. It stimulates the ovaries to release an egg during ovulation. Testing your FSH level can help confirm menopause has started. A consistently high level of FSH can indicate menopause. However, FSH tests can be misleading because during perimenopause your hormones rise and fall erratically. Certain medications, like birth control pills or hormone therapy, interfere with hormone levels and will affect the results of any hormone tests. Overactive thyroid and high prolactin can also alter those results.

What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause

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Your body has been producing estrogen since puberty. Once your estrogen levels begin to decline, your body has to adjust to the changes in hormones.

The symptoms vary, but most people experience at least one of the following:

  • Sleep problems .
  • Changes in mood like irritability, depression or mood swings.

The length of time you have symptoms of perimenopause can vary between a few months to many years. The decrease in estrogen also can lead to bone thinning or changing cholesterol levels. Continue to have regular checkups with your healthcare provider to keep an eye on your health.

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Hot Flashes And Night Sweats

One of the major symptoms of menopause, hot flashes can make your whole body uncomfortably warm for a minute or more. Your face flushes, you perspire, and it feels like your heart is racing. You may wake up hot and sweaty at night, even though your room is cool.

What to do: To reduce the discomfort of hot flashes, dress in layers during the day, and in light pajamas at night. Keep a cool bottle of water close at hand, and use an ice pack to cool your pillow at night.

When Do Menopause And Perimenopause Start

The average age for women to experience menopause is 52, but some women may begin early menopause between the ages of 40-45. Other common questions are what is perimenopause and how is it different? If youre experiencing symptoms but still menstruating, youre in perimenopause. Perimenopause symptoms can start months or years before menopause, often when a woman is in her 40s.During this time, your periods may become irregular and you may even skip several months. Irregular periods are a key symptom of perimenopause as hormonal changes may cause you to ovulate on a less regular basis. But keep in mind, until you havent menstruated for 12 full months, you havent started menopause yet.

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Early And Premature Menopause And Fertility

Early and premature menopause can affect your ability to have children naturally.

Women experiencing early or premature menopause do not ovulate every month. This makes it difficult to get pregnant.

If you want to have children, you might choose to use IVF and donated eggs from another woman, or using your own eggs if you had some stored. Surrogacy and adoption may also be options for you.

Studies have shown that a small percentage of women experiencing premature menopause do sometimes ovulate and become pregnant.

If you don’t wish to become pregnant you should continue to use contraception.

Is Joint Pain A Symptom Of Menopause

Woman early menopause pregnant with twins

Joint pain affects many menopausal women. This pain can also be accompanied by stiffness and swelling of the affected joints. This happens because menopause lowers your levels of estrogen, which acts as an anti-inflammatory substance and helps maintain bone health. Osteoarthritis tends to affect high-impact joints like hips and knees, but it can affect any joint.

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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.

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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Perimenopause Complications

Irregular periods are the most common symptom of perimenopause. But its important to know when to talk to your healthcare provider about your periods. Sometimes, irregular bleeding can point to an underlying problem.

You can lower your risk of complications by seeking treatment when necessary. Talk to your healthcare provider if you:

  • Bleed for more than seven days in a row.
  • Bleed between periods.
  • Change pads or tampons every one to two hours.
  • Have periods more frequently than every 21 days.

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How Do I Know If Im Going Through Menopause

Menopause is defined by 12 months of amenorrhea after the final menstrual period in the absence of any other pathological or physiological causes.

One of the first symptoms that youre approaching menopause is an irregularity in your menstrual cycles. Other symptoms of menopause include headaches, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, decreased concentration, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, irritability, amongst others. Some women experience these symptoms 1 to 5 years before menopause, but theres no way to predict when menopause will occur.

Are There Other Health Issues That Affect Women In Premature Menopause

Predicting Your Menopause Age

Like all menopausal women, women in premature menopause experience lowered estrogen levels as the ovaries stop most of their production of this hormone. Low levels of estrogen can lead to changes in women’s overall health and may increase their risk for certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis. Other health risks associated with the loss of estrogen include increased risk for colon and ovarian cancer, periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cataract formation.

However, compared with women who go through natural menopause, women undergoing premature menopause spend a greater portion of their lives without the protective benefits of their own estrogen. This puts them at an even greater risk for the above mentioned menopause-related health problems.

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Keeping An Active Sex Life

Menopause can reduce a persons sex drive and lead to vaginal dryness, but it also removes the need for birth control. For some, this can make sex more enjoyable.

Having sex often can increase vaginal blood flow and help keep the tissues healthy.

Some tips for maintaining sexual health and activity during menopause include:

  • staying physically active
  • avoiding tobacco products, recreational drugs, and alcohol
  • taking the time to become aroused, which will improve lubrication
  • doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
  • not using any strong soaps around the vagina, as these can worsen irritation

Also, menopause symptoms lead some people to find satisfying forms of sex that do not involve the vagina as much or at all.

It is worth remembering that, while a woman cannot become pregnant once menopause starts, it is still important to use barrier protection during penetrative sex to protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Often, sexual partners will be getting older and may be experiencing menopause at the same time. They, too, may be feeling a drop in sex drive. Opening up about any concerns can help both partners feel better and explore new forms of intimacy.

Menopause is a stage in life, not an illness. Most women experience natural menopause during midlife. However, surgery and other factors can cause menopause to start earlier.

Heart & Cardiovascular Health

Women experiencing a premature or early menopause may have an increased risk of heart disease, compared to women who reach menopause at the expected age, although this remains controversial.

A recent study suggested women with premature or early menopause may also be at greater risk of stroke. This might be because of the loss of the beneficial effects of oestrogen on the blood vessels and the lipid profile of younger women. Further understanding in this area is still needed.

There are also other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as family history, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular and heart problems. Stopping smoking, eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy body weight and doing regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease in women of all ages.

There is some evidence that suggests menopausal hormone therapy, or MHT use in women with premature or early menopause reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

It is recommended that you have annual monitoring of blood pressure, weight, smoking status and cholesterol and sugar levels, as well as a discussion with your doctor, to help keep a check on your risks of cardiovascular disease.

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How Can I Reduce My Perimenopause Or Menopause Symptoms

Effective natural options include phytotherapy, vitamins and minerals, and simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments that can provide relief by resolving the single root cause of all your symptoms. Certain herbs known as phytocrines share functional features with our hormones, allowing them to provide powerful symptom relief. Phytocrines also support your bodys ability to make and use its own hormones. These actions help alleviate your worst symptoms, but without side effects.

While certain herbs address specific symptoms, I always suggest using a multi-sourced botanical formula, as science suggests that a combination of herbs can restore hormonal balance under a variety of circumstances.

We understand that perimenopause and menopause can be scary times in a womans life. Symptoms can leave you exhausted, miserable and discouraged. But in working with many women over the years, weve found that when we have the information we need to be more resourceful we can overcome difficult situations.

And many women tell us that because they were prepared and knew what to expect, they can look back at perimenopause and menopause and think that wasnt nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be! It can be that way for you too. Please dont hesitate to give our Customer Support Team a call at 1-800-448-4919 to find out which herbal solution might work best for you.

Management & Treatment Of Premature & Early Menopausal Symptoms

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Seeking treatment and advice is recommended to reduce your risk of earlier onset of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, as well as to treat your symptoms.

Treatment with menopause hormonal therapy or the pill is recommended to reduce severe symptoms and to reduce the long-term health risks associated with early menopause, such as osteoporosis. However, other therapies may be recommended for moderate to severe symptoms, or if there are reasons, such as breast cancer, for not being able to take MHT or the pill.

Discuss these issues with your doctor so you can make the right decision for you.

It may be possible to reduce some symptoms of menopause with the following options:

  • healthy diet and eating
  • cognitive behavioural therapy or hypnotherapy for hot flushes.

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What Is The Difference Between Early And Premature Menopause

Early or premature menopause happens when ovaries stop making hormones and periods stop at a younger age than usual . This can happen naturally or for a medical reason, such as when both ovaries are removed in a hysterectomy.

Early and premature menopause can have the same causes. The only difference is the age at which it happens. Menopause that happens before age 45 is called early menopause. Menopause that happens before age 40 is called premature menopause.

Women who have gone through early or premature menopause cannot get pregnant.

What Can I Do To Help These Symptoms

Increasing your exercise levels can help to reduce stress which can help manage menopause symptoms and can also help with weight loss. Managing your weight has lots of health benefits and can lessen symptoms of menopause as well. You could discuss with your GP about talking therapies, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy.

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What Are Menopause Symptoms And Signs

    It is important to remember that each woman’s experience is highly individual. Some women may experience few or no symptoms of menopause, while others experience multiple physical and psychological symptoms. The extent and severity of symptoms varies significantly among women. It is also important to remember that symptoms may come and go over an extended period for some women. This, too, is highly individual. These symptoms of menopause and perimenopause are discussed in detail below.

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