What is menopause?Most women begin menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, and some even earlier. The average age for menopause is 51 years old.
Menopause occurs when your ovaries stop producing eggs, resulting in low estrogen levels. Estrogen is the hormone that controls the reproductive cycle.
A woman is in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for more than 12 months. But associated symptoms, such as hot flashes, start long before menopause during a period called perimenopause.
Anything that damages your ovaries or stops estrogen production can cause early menopause. This includes chemotherapy for cancer or an oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries). In these cases, your doctor will help prepare you for early menopause. But you can also go into menopause early even if your ovaries are still intact.
What causes early menopause?There are several known causes of early menopause, although sometimes the cause can’t be determined.
Early menopause are also known as perimenopause or premenopause.
GeneticsIf there’s no obvious medical reason for early menopause, the cause is likely genetic. Your age at menopause onset is likely inherited.
Knowing when your mother started menopause can provide clues about when you’ll start your own. If your mother started menopause early, you’re more likely than average to do the same. However, genes tell only half the story.
Lifestyle factorsSome lifestyle factors may have an impact on when you begin menopause. Smoking has anti-estrogen effects that can contribute to early menopause.
An analysis showed that long-term or regular smokers are likely to experience menopause sooner. Women who smoke may start menopause one to two years earlier than women who don’t smoke.
Body mass index (BMI) can also factor into early menopause. Estrogen is stored in fat tissue. Women who are very thin have fewer estrogen stores, which can be depleted sooner.
Some research also suggests that a vegetarian diet, lack of exercise, and lack of sun exposure throughout your life can all cause early onset of menopause.
Chromosome defectsSome chromosomal defects can lead to early menopause. For example, Turner syndrome (also called monosomy X and gonadal dysgenesis) involves being born with an incomplete chromosome. Women with Turner syndrome have ovaries that don’t function properly. This often causes them to enter menopause prematurely.
Other chromosomal defects can cause early menopause, too. This includes pure gonadal dysgenesis, a variation on Turner syndrome.
In this condition, the ovaries don’t function. Instead, periods and secondary sex characteristics must be brought about by hormone replacement therapy, usually during adolescence.
Women with Fragile X syndrome, or who are genetic carriers of the disease, may also have early menopause. This syndrome is passed down in families.
Women should discuss genetic testing options with their doctor if they have premature menopause or if they have family members who had premature menopause.
Autoimmune diseasesPremature menopause can be a symptom of an autoimmune disease such as thyroid disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakes a part of the body for an invader and attacks it. Inflammation caused by some of these diseases can affect the ovaries. Menopause begins when the ovaries stop working.
EpilepsyEpilepsy is a seizure disorder that stems from the brain. Women with epilepsy are more likely to experience premature ovarian failure, which leads to menopause.
An older study found that in a group of women with epilepsy, about 14 percent of those studied had premature menopause, as opposed to 1 percent of the general population.
Premenopause vs. perimenopausePremenopause is when you have no symptoms of going through perimenopause or menopause. You still have periods (whether they’re regular or irregular) and are considered to be in your reproductive years. Some hormonal changes may be occurring, but there are no noticeable changes in your body.
On the other hand, during perimenopause you will start to experience symptoms of menopause (for example, changes in period cycle, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, or mood swings).
Premenopause and perimenopause are sometimes used interchangeably, but technically they have different meanings.
Symptoms of perimenopause and menopauseWhen it comes to menopause, most people think about the symptoms more than anything else. These can include those infamous hot flashes, but there are many other changes you might experience during this transition.
Menopause shares the same symptomes as PMS.
Symptoms of perimenopause may include:
Anxiety, Bloating, Brain fog, Breast tenderness, Burnt out, Constipation, Cramps, Decreased appetite, Depression, Diarrhoea, Dizziness, Dry mucous membranes, Eczema, Emotional, Fast heartbeat, Fatigue, Fever, Hair loss, Headache, High blood pressure, Hot flash, Impure skin, Increased appetite, Increased libido, Indigestion, Insomnia, Irregular menstruation, Joint pain, Loss of libido, Low blood pressure, Mood swings, Night sweat, Painful menstruation, Salt cravings, Sensitivity to cold, Sleep apnea, Sugar cravings, Tearfulness, Weight gain
Start your hormonal cycle log
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Track your hormonal symptoms like Hot flash, Headache and Unrest. You may record as many symptoms as needed, and post to your symptom journal quickly
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To track your menstrual cycle, you will be able to see how your hormonal balance affects your periods. This will help you if you want to improve your fertility
Keeping an eye on your weight is important as it might be a sign of hormonal imbalance. When your hormones fluctuate, so does your weight. Estrogen levels affect your weight, particularly around menopause.
The body regulates the hormone levels in the body and it can be influenced by factors such as medication consumption. Medication affects your hormonal balance in many ways, and might be usefull to keep track on.