Every woman goes through different stages of transformation in their lives with their bodies. First, there’s the menstruation phase where a girl would transition to womanhood during the onset of puberty through vaginal bleeding. Next, if a woman becomes pregnant, she undergoes transformation changes with her body through her hormones as the child in her womb is conceived. Then, there’s menopause. This is the stage in a woman’s life where the ovaries would stop producing a hormone that controls the reproductive cycle called estrogen. When a woman undergoes menopause, a sure sign is that she has not had her period for twelve months and that is not possible to become pregnant any longer. However, having menopause would also come with other symptoms.
The onset of menopause in women usually occurs at an average age of 45 to 55 years old. However, menopause can also occur in women early in their 30’s or late in their 60’s. Menopause also does not happen immediately overnight but is a process that occurs gradually. The transition to menopause usually begins when the duration of a woman’s menstrual cycle changes and ceases with the final day of the menstrual period.
When a woman undergoes early menopause, they would also experience the same symptoms of a menopausal woman. However, symptoms can vary from woman to woman. Some women would experience severe symptoms, while others may feel some or none at all. Another term coined for early menopause is perimenopause. Often, perimenopause is referred to the transition period towards menopause.
What usually causes early menopause?
Menopause happens due to various reasons. However, some of these causes are not accurately determined. Some of these causes include:
Some lifestyle habits may have adverse effects especially during the onset of menopause. Studies show that women who smoke a lot can experience early menopause than women who don’t.
Another factor that can cause early menopause is a woman’s body mass index. Some research shows that women who are thinner can experience symptoms of early menopause. This is because the hormone estrogen is mostly stored in the body’s fatty tissue. Women who have lesser fat tissues have lesser estrogens which can cause the condition. Other issues like women who practice vegetarian diet, or lack exercise and sunlight can also experience early menopause.
- Defects in genetic chromosomes
Women who have defective chromosomes are also said to experience early menopause symptoms. An example of conditions that associate with faulty chromosomes includes Turner Syndrome. Turner syndrome is a type of condition where a person is born with missing chromosomes. This means that women with Turner Syndrome do not normal functioning ovaries. Another chromosome-related condition is the Trisomy 13 and 18. This condition is usually where the 13th and 18th chromosomes have one extra chromosome each. This leads to early menopause because it can cause infertility and developmental issues.
A kind of seizure disorder, epilepsy occurs because of defects in the brain. Some studies have shown that epilepsy can also cause early menopause in women.
A hysterectomy is a surgical operation that involves removing all the parts of the uterus. In some cases the ovaries are not removed with the uterus so, although a woman does not menstruate, the ovaries would still naturally produce hormones. As soon as a woman would transition to menopause, she would experience the symptoms earlier.
- Cancer chemotherapy treatments and radiation
These type of cancer therapies can contribute to early menopause. Symptoms during and after treatment would usually include hot flashes. Not only that, but these treatments can also cause issues with fertility.
- Diseases that involve the immune system
Thyroid diseases and rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to symptoms of premature menopause. This is because our immune system will mistakenly attack parts of the body in autoimmune diseases and cause inflammation. Inflammation will then affect the ovaries causing early menopause.
What are the symptoms to identify early or premature menopause?
A clear symptom of early menopause would begin when your periods become irregular. This means that the duration of a woman’s menstrual discharge would last for a long time or a very short time. However, the experiences women in their menopausal stage would differ. Some may experience severe symptoms while others may feel some or none at all. The following symptoms can help in detecting early signs of menopause:
- Heavy sweating even during normal room temperatures
One of the clear signs of early menopause is when a woman experiences constant bouts of drenched sweating, especially at night.
This is a common symptom shared by many women who experience menopause. This is when a woman experiences abnormal feelings of unpleasant warmth that spreads over the body. This is usually accompanied by heavy perspiration and would usually last 30 seconds or less.
- Uneasy feelings and itchiness around the vagina
This happens when estrogen levels drop, and the vaginal lining becomes thinner and drier causing it to itch.
- Emotional symptoms like irritability and mood swings
Women during early menopause would also feel emotional problems like constant irritability and mood swings. This can often be coupled with extreme fatigue and tiredness and even memory problems. Moreover, a woman’s sexual urges would also change drastically during the onset.
What are some ways to relieve the symptoms?
Experiencing menopause is a natural event for women. However, there are ways to reduce the uneasiness of the symptoms in the following ways:
- Changes in lifestyle
Women who drank alcohol and smoke a lot during their younger years should refrain from giving in to these type of vices as they would contribute significantly to early menopause. Menopausal women should also turn to keeping active and exercise as well as eat a proper and balanced diet.
- Using home remedies and organic supplements
Some supplements can help in delaying or reducing the symptoms of menopause that are natural or plant-based. Supplements that contain chemical compounds like isoflavones that are usually found in soy and other plants. This is because these chemical compounds have structures that are almost similar to estrogens, although at a lower rate. Vitamin E supplements can also help in providing relief from menopausal hot flashes. Other substances that have shown to be natural remedies to relieve menopause symptoms include wild yam, licorice, and chaste berry.
- Oral contraceptives or birth control pills
These methods have also proven to be a form of hormone therapy that helps treat irregular bleeding of the vagina. These usually help regulate menstruation as well as to relieve symptoms like hot flashes.
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