One minute you are feeling warm and a layer of sweat appear on your forehead. A minute later, you feel fine. Did this often happen to you? If yes, you are on the brink of menopause. But what if you are in your 30s or early 40s and feeling this way? You are probably among the women who experience early menopause.
Menopause typically occurs 12 consecutive months after a woman’s last period. Most women experience menopause between the ages of 40 and 58, with an average age of 51 in the United States. However, for some women, menopause comes earlier than they expect. According to the Federal Office on Women’s Health, about 5% of women go through early menopause and 1% of women experience menopause before the age of 40.
Although menopause is a natural condition that every woman will eventually go through, premature or early menopause can bring potentially devastating consequences that menopause might not. If you are in your 30s or early 40s and missed your periods (menses) for a few months, look for these signs and consult your internal medicine doctor for dealing with premature menopause.
Signs of Early Menopause
The symptoms may be same as many other women experience with menopause, the biggest difference is the symptoms seem worse when hit you earlier as you may not have had a chance to gradually adjust to lower levels of hormones. Here are some signs you may be going through early menopause.
- Irregular Periods – Due to unpredictable periods, you may experience irregular periods, heavy to light flow, or length of time between periods may be noticeably longer or shorter. Your periods may even last longer than a week or cause spotting.
- Hot Flashes – This symptom is common during perimenopause, the time during which your body transitions to menopause. Hot flashes are sudden feelings of intense body heat that you experience over your face, neck, and chest. It can occur during the day or night.
- Mood Swings – Fluctuating hormones or hot flashes may dramatically contribute to mood changes, irritability, increased risk of depression or anxiety. Some memory challenges are also a sign of early menopause. Estrogen improves your brain function and when it is highly variable or not present at all, it affects your mood cycle.
- Sleep Problems – In addition to mood swings, hormonal transformations in early menopause affect your sleep patterns. Women in early menopause are frequently bothered by night sweats, which can wake them up and interrupt sleep. Estrogen is also linked to serotonin which makes melatonin, a sleep hormone. Lack of estrogen causes trouble sleeping or discomfort during the night.
- Decreased Sexual Drive – Estrogen helps lubricate vagina which makes sex more comfortable. Low estrogen due to early menopause may make the body more vulnerable to vaginal dryness or urinary infection. This may lower sex drive due to pain or discomfort. Loss of tissue may cause bladder problems like lack of control of urination.
Besides menopause, there are several reasons for not getting periods including stress, illness, lifestyle changes, pregnancy, and response to a contraceptive. If you are facing symptoms of early menopause, visit your family doctor to get the right treatment to help you cope with symptoms.
What Causes Early Menopause?
Early or premature menopause can occur due to follicle depletion or follicle dysfunction in which eggs don’t mature or get released, causing women’s period to stop. If your periods stop earlier, it can happen for a variety of reasons.
- Having abnormal genes or chromosomes.
- Poor lifestyle and eating habits like smoking, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet.
- Autoimmune conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks hormone-producing organs in the body.
- Exposure to radiation therapy or chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment.
- Being exposed to certain infections like mumps virus.
How to Deal with Hormonal Imbalances?
While women can self-diagnose menopause based on their symptoms, it is best to get a proper diagnosis with the family care doctor of the reputed internal medicine clinic. Your internist will ask you about your symptoms and can order hormonal tests to help identify whether your symptoms are due to perimenopause or other conditions.
Based on your individual situations and diagnosis, your family physician will provide the right treatment to help manage the symptoms and deal with hormonal imbalances. Some common treatment options for early menopause include:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy – This treatment can help prevent many common menopausal symptoms. It also supports heart health and prevents bone loss. However, it may increase your chances of breast cancer or blood clots. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of this therapy with your doctor.
- Calcium and Vitamin D Supplement – Having a calcium and vitamin D supplement can help prevent osteoporosis. If you are not getting enough nutrients from the diet, consider taking these supplements as recommended by your family doctor.
Early menopause is very common but can impact your health. Consulting your doctor and learning more about your condition can help you deal with it in the best way possible. If you are experiencing early or premature menopause and looking for the best internal medicine clinic in Brooklyn NY, contact Artisans of Medicine today!