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What’s The Earliest Age A Woman Can Go Through Menopause

What Is The Emotional Impact Of Poi

Early and premature menopause

Early menopause and POI is medically defined as the cessation of menstruation, but it can be so much more than that. The symptoms of early menopause and the impact on fertility can be upsetting and have a serious impact on mental well-being.

“A woman who finds herself with the symptoms of POI who hasn’t had a family, that’s a big issue. The loss of fertility and the psychological impact of that can be huge. Even for a woman who has had a family. Having the decision taken away from her is difficult,” says Spowart.

The potential impact on sexual function can also be distressing too. “Vaginal dryness and symptoms like that can make sex uncomfortable and it can create distress and anxiety for women,” he adds.

Although menopause is natural, stigma and the taboo about revealing menopausal symptoms can have an impact on women too.

“Some people are aware of POI in their families, but some families don’t talk about it,” Spowart says. “Having people talk about it and getting the right information out there are important.”

Jennifer*, who began the menopause at 38, says she struggled with stigma associated with POI. “My symptoms, physically, were pretty standard – cessation of periods, sore breasts,” she says.

“However, I was not in a great marriage at the time and my then father-in-law and to some extent my husband, had always enjoyed talking about women in this part of their lives as ‘dried up’.

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.

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.

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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 Are The Complications And Effects Of Menopause On Chronic Medical Conditions

Early Onset Menopause Symptoms


Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the quantity and quality of bone that causes an increased risk of fracture. The density of the bone normally begins to decrease in women during the fourth decade of life. However, that normal decline in bone density is accelerated during the menopausal transition. Consequently, both age and the hormonal changes due to the menopause transition act together to cause osteoporosis. Medications to treat osteoporosis are currently available and pose less risk than hormone therapy. Therefore, hormone therapy is not recommended for prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.

Cardiovascular disease

Prior to menopause, women have a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke when compared with men. Around the time of menopause, however, a women’s risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S.

Coronary heart disease rates in postmenopausal women are two to three times higher than in women of the same age who have not reached menopause. This increased risk for cardiovascular disease may be related to declining estrogen levels, but in light of other factors, medical professionals do not advise postmenopausal women to take hormone therapy simply as a preventive measure to decrease their risk of heart attack or stroke.

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Summary Of Underlying Physiology

Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation which reflects cessation of ovulation owing to a loss of ovarian follicles, which in turn results in reduced ovarian production of estradiol, the most biologically active form of estrogen,, as well as increased circulating concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone and decreased concentrations of inhibin, which inhibits the release of FSH. Age at menopause may be more sensitive to varying rates of atresia of ovarian follicles than to the absolute number of oocytes depleted, but menopause is reached when depletion of follicles reaches approximately 1000 ., The age at which sufficient depletion of follicles occurs is affected by the number of follicles achieving migration to the gonadal ridge during gestation, their mitotic abilities until mid-gestation, and the rate of follicular atresia.,

The nature and timing of bleeding may vary both within and between women. What is known about the host, environmental, or lifestyle factors that may affect such variation is summarized herein. Although some factors have been identified that are associated with early age at natural menopause, the relation of many has not been examined, and most have not been examined in relation to duration of the perimenopause.

What Helps With Menopausal Arthritis

Hormonal imbalances make it more likely for menopausal women to develop osteoarthritis. You can perform low-impact exercises , maintain a healthy weight, and eat vitamin D and calcium-rich foods to improve your symptoms. Your doctor could prescribe NSAID medications or refer you to a physical therapy specialist, too.

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What To Expect After A Diagnosis

If possible, find a supportive and sympathetic doctor to help you adjust to the diagnosis of early menopause. Your doctor will help to counsel you, prescribe appropriate treatments and refer you to relevant specialists when necessary. This is a specialist area and usually, at least initially, an endocrinologist or gynaecologist with expertise in early or premature menopause should assess and advise you.

Your doctor should see you regularly over the years to reassess your health needs, including reviewing your medications and to test routinely for potential risks associated with POI. Often it is necessary to have a team of health professionals monitor you through the years after you have been diagnosed.

You may need to seek out a specialist early-menopause clinic or individual practitioners, such as infertility specialists, endocrinologists , psychologists or psychiatrists for support.

What Is The Best Natural Remedy For Menopause Symptoms

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

There are some things you can do to improve menopausal symptoms. Achieving a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating foods rich in vitamin D and calcium can help. Foods with a high phytoestrogen content, like soybeans, tofu, flaxseed, linseed, and beans, can also reduce symptoms such as hot flashes. Avoid foods that trigger your symptoms, as well.

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Is Joint Pain A Symptom Of Menopause

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.

What Is The Difference Between Premature Menopause And Early Menopause

The difference between premature menopause and early menopause is when it happens. Premature menopause occurs before a woman is 40. Early menopause is when a woman undergoes menopause before age 45.

Many of the causes of premature menopause can also be causes of early menopause. The two types of menopause also share many of the same symptoms.

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What Other Factors Influence When Perimenopause Starts Or When A Woman Reaches Menopause

New research published online on April 12 in Menopause, the journal of NAMS, looked at the various factors that may affect the age when natural menopause occurs.

They found that there are factors that do seem predictive of when a woman will approach menopause, such as higher estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone levels, which weve known for a while,” says Streicher. Irregular menstrual bleeding and hot flashes were also indicators of earlier menopause, she adds.

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One new finding uncovered in the research was around alcohol consumption. The authors observed that participants tended to increase their alcohol consumption when approaching menopause, making it a potential clue that the change was coming.

That makes sense, says Streicher. This can be a time of added stress for women, and we know that any stressful situation can cause someone to drink more, she says.

Although this study didnt find a strong association with smoking, other research has indicated that smoking is related to early onset of menopause, says Streicher.

Menstruation Changes Are The Main Perimenopause Symptoms

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Menstruation changes are the first signs of perimenopause.

Changes in the length of your period and menstrual bleeding become more abundant and irregular. Periods may occur once in 23 weeks or be absent for several months in a row until they disappear completely.

This phase is unique for every woman and may require a doctors supervision.

This is particularly important if the interval between periods is less than 2 weeks, there is severe bleeding , or if menstruation lasts for more than a week.

Contrary to popular belief, menopause is not a bad thing, not a disease by any means. Its merely another peculiar stage in a womans life. The more we appreciate this menopause meaning, the better

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Can I Still Get Pregnant After Being Diagnosed With Premature Menopause Early Menopause Or Primary/premature Ovarian Insufficiency

Unless the ovaries have been surgically removed, it can be difficult to diagnose a woman younger than age 45 with menopause as opposed to primary ovarian insufficiency . Women with POI can have intermittent ovulation, which may or may not be accompanied by a menstrual bleed. Other women may be able to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization with egg donation. It is important to work with a fertility specialist to explore options.

Options available to you will vary depending on whether you have interest in having children in the future. In some cases, fertility may be restored and pregnancy could be possible. Assisted reproductive technology , including in vitro fertilization might be considered.

If you do not want to get pregnant while on hormone-replacement therapy, your doctor will talk to you about contraceptive options.

Talk to your healthcare provider about possible causes of premature or early menopause and your questions regarding fertility.

Risks Of Premature & Early Menopause

The risks of developing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease are higher for women with premature or early menopause than for women reaching menopause at the expected age. For this reason, it is important that you seek advice and treatment from your doctor.

According to community studies, women who go through premature or early menopause without hormone treatment have a reduced life expectancy by about two years.

The advice below is based on current expert opinion, as there are no studies on women with premature or early menopause that establish which prevention strategies are effective.

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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.

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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Predicting Natural Menopause: Why Does Age Matter

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.

Do All Women Experience Menopause

If you are asking whether all women experience the symptoms typical of menopause, the answer is no. While most women do experience some kind of symptoms when hormone production by the ovaries declines, the extent and type of symptoms are extremely varied among different women. Not all women will experience symptoms of menopause in the same way.

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How Can I Stop Early Menopause

Early menopause occurs when a woman stops having her period before shes 45 years old. Although early menopause cant be stopped completely, contraceptive pills or hormone replacement therapy can help your body cope with the premature loss of its reproductive function. Vitamin D and calcium supplements can also be prescribed to cope with the premature decrease in reproductive hormones.

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For people who cannot take estrogen therapy, or choose not to, Stuenkel says some drugs in the antidepressant family, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, can help with hot flashes. Stuenkel says, “While they’re not perfect, they can take the edge off and help enough so that women can get a better night’s sleep.”

There are an abundance of nonhormonal, nondrug treatment options for managing symptoms, some of which have significantly more evidence backing them than others. In 2015, a North American Menopause Society panel found that cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis were significantly effective in treating hot flashes. The same panel also found that popular herbal remedies are “unlikely to help,” although some NPR listeners who wrote in said they got relief from some of those treatments.

For depressive and anxiety symptoms, women may want to seek out professional counseling or a psychiatrist.

When do I need to see a doctor?

You might not need to at all. Some people sail right through menopause with little trouble. But if you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your life, it’s worth making an appointment. Some of these symptoms could indicate other problems that need treatment, such as fibroids or even cancer.

Ways to cope with symptoms

For people approaching this stage of life or who are already going through it, here are four steps for making this transition more manageable.

1. Get educated

2. Monitor your health

3. Practice smart self-care

4. Cultivate community

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