Menopause is caused due to a decrease in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone; primarily estrogen. Early menopause is determined when a woman has symptoms of menopause prior to 40 years old. So what differentiates early menopause and ‘regular’ menopause? Well, the symptoms are the same, but those with early menopause have the added increased chance of osteoporosis and heart disease. Some literature state those who have never been pregnant are more likely to experience early menopause.
The symptoms of early menopause are like that of ‘regular’ menopause. Symptoms include vaginal dryness, decreased libido, hot flashes, irritability, sleep disturbances, dry skin, acne, weight gain (and difficulty losing weight), hair changes, and growth of facial hair. Nighttime sweating and hot flashes are the most common symptoms. Women with early menopause are more likely to also experience heart disease, heart attack, and high cholesterol. It is important that these women have routine doctor’s visits to be assessed for hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The need for estrogen and/or progesterone replacement should be determined by and closely followed by an experienced doctor as these HRT’s come with a host of side effects. It could also be helpful to increase dietary calcium by supplements or increasing the intake of green leafy vegetables, stop smoking, and limit alcohol intake. Women should also increase their daily physical activity. Physical activity helps to build and maintain strong bones and releases ‘feel good’ endorphin’s to help with the emotional roller coaster. Ultimately, if early menopause is expected, a woman should be closely evaluated by their doctor.
The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes only. It is NOT to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice. Anyone with questions regarding this or other medical issues discussed on this site must consult their physician for further information and treatment.