The Signs and Symptoms of Premature Menopause

Premature menopause happens when ovary function and menstruation stop in women under 40 or 45 years old. Learn about premature menopause and its signs and symptoms.
The Signs and Symptoms of Premature Menopause

Last update: 18 February, 2019

Beyond the physical changes, premature menopause has psychological consequences. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to face this time of life in the best way possible.

Menopause is the stage when a woman stops getting her menstrual period and goes through a series of hormonal changes that make her unable to get pregnant.

It tends to happen at 45 years old or older, though in the years before that, there are some symptoms associated with reduced levels of estrogen and progesterone.

It’s a hard time for almost all women, especially because it means physical and psychological changes that interfere with their lives in different ways.

The good thing is that they can be managed with a healthy lifestyle and supplements that can keep symptoms under control.

What is premature menopause?

Premature menopause happens when ovary function and menstruation stop in women under 40 or 45 years old.

In theory, it presents with irregular menstrual periods and then the complete ceasing of menstruation.

The problem is that, as the woman sees significant hormonal changes too soon, the risk of chronic illness and emotional issues rise.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) state that 1% of the female population suffers from premature menopause.

What are the causes of premature menopause?

Woman in front of a wind fan

A significant percent of premature menopause cases don’t have a known cause. However, there are several factors that have been linked in some way to the condition:

  • Genetic or chromosomal alterations
  • Infectious agents
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Exposure to toxic environments
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Aggressive treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy
  • Surgical removal of the ovaries

Symptoms of premature menopause

The signs of premature menopause can vary from woman to woman, almost always depending on her specific hormonal changes.

The lowering of estrogen levels in the ovaries sets off a series of symptoms that interfere with feminine functions such as menstruation and the ability to conceive.

Some of main signs are:

1. Irregular menstrual periods

Woman looking at a calendar

As a result of lowered estrogen levels, the woman starts to have irregular menstrual periods that can even take months to appear.

It’s also common for flow to diminish or to see changes in color or odor.

2. Hot flashes

Waking up during the night with hot flashes is a clear sign of menopause. If the woman is younger than 40, she probably has premature menopause.

3. Palpitations

Woman checking to see if she has palpitations

The hormonal changes that come with premature menopause can alter cardiac rhythm and trigger uncomfortable palpitations.

It’s important to get regular medical check-ups because it can also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

4. Vaginal dryness

This symptom is quite worrying because it can affect a woman’s intimate moments. As estrogen goes down, the vagina loses its natural moisture and begins to show a lack of lubrication.

Thus, sexual relations can become uncomfortable or painful.

5. Loss of libido

Woman rejecting her partner in bed

A loss of libido isn’t always a sign of premature menopause, since in the end, sex drive is determined by many factors.

Still, when it happens suddenly and for no apparent reason, there are probably significant hormonal changes happening that have something to do with menopause.

6. Urinary tract infections

In addition, an increase in urinary tract infections is one of the early signs of premature menopause.

Imbalances in the intimate area’s pH levels create a hospitable environment for bacteria growth and therefore increase cases of cystitis.

It should be noted that the immune system also gets affected, which reduces the ability to fight viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents.

7. Mood changes

Irritability, mood swings and difficulty concentrating are other consequences of early menopause.

Hormone imbalances affect the nervous system and cause ups and downs.

8. Bone density loss

Getting a hand massage

Along with reduced estrogen levels comes a change that deserves attention: bone density loss.

This condition occurs because the body loses its ability to absorb calcium and other nutrients important for bone strength.

Can premature menopause be prevented?

As of now, there is no specific treatment to prevent premature menopause for people at risk of developing it.

Specialists usually recommend hormone therapy as well as calcium supplements and other medicine to control its symptoms.

Overall, the most important thing is to learn how to face it with optimism and focus on taking care of yourself.

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