The female body and hormones goes through a lot over the years. From monthly periods, to pregnancy, childbirth and then when you finally think you’ve got it all sussed, along comes the menopause.
This is a part of life where oestrogen levels naturally drop and ovaries stop releasing eggs each month. You can read more about it here.
On average, this happens at 51, however, some can experience it much earlier. This is called early menopause.
According to stats, in the UK 1 in 100 experience the decline before they hit 40. However, this number is likely to be more.
When I started noticing irregular periods and night sweats I did become concerned that it could be the early menopause.
Why can early menopause happen?
- Medical reason such as chemotherapy or hysterectomy (we have a whole blog on surgical menopause)
- Chromosomal defects
- Lifestyle factors such as smoking
How do you know if you are going through it?
Being well under the age of 51, I wasn’t even looking out for signs. However, when irregular periods that seemed to last forever started I wondered what was going on.
Dr Google brought up early menopause so I thought I would look further into it.
I did learn that the symptoms of early menopause (when it comes to changes in periods) could also relate to other conditions, such as stress, change in diet or exercise routine, fibroids, adenomyosis, polyps, side effects of meds, PCOS. So I wasn’t 100% sure if it was early menopause or just because I’d started a new diet!
On my search, I found other signs of early menopause that may include:
I then got to GOOGLING, what is the earliest age for menopause?
I remember watching daytime TV during menopause week and there were stories of girls as young as 11 having this drop in hormones, though they said this is rare. Apparently early menopause can happen at any age if a woman’s ovaries stop making oestrogen at a normal level.
This got me thinking… is it bad to go through early menopause?
Menopause.org writes how going through the menopause early may increase the risk of “cardiovascular disease, premature death, anxiety, dementia, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, heart failure and sexual dysfunction. ”
The website says:
“Replacing estrogen mitigates some of these risks, although it may not completely protect against the increased risk of parkinsonism, glaucoma, mood disorders, and sexual dysfunction.”
In terms of lifestyle, there are some things to avoid some of the conditions linked to early menopause. Find out more here.
For example we love:
- Resistance training using weights or bands, can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone density
- Eating enough protein can help to maintain muscle mass
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and maintain a healthy body weight
- Quitting smoking
- Taking supplements can help to keep your body, mind and sex life healthy during early menopause. Read our blog, supplements to take after a hysterectomy where we cover supplements we love
How do you know if you’re going through early menopause?
The only way to really know if it was the early menopause was to chat with my doctor. They can arrange blood tests and find out what is happening.
The doctor says that if you are going through the early menopause then your FSH levels will be increased and your estrogen levels will be declining. Read the NICE guidelines for diagnosis and management.
If you are facing ‘Surmeno’, read the Our Remedy blog ‘Surgical Menopause – dealing with it in your 30s’ where Rachel shares her experiences.