Menopause is typically characterized by hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, poor sleep, mood swings and everything else that can come with the closing of one chapter of your life and opening of another one. Menopause marks the end of menstruation as well as the end of fertility and, for the majority of women, it doesn't come until middle age. It's possible, however, to experience menopause in your 30s, 20s, and even younger. In fact, you might start to see early signs of premature menopause well before you turn 40.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, premature menopause — also know as premature ovarian failure — happens to about one in 1000 women between the ages of 15 and 29 and one in 100 women between the ages of 30 and 39. So how do you know if you'll go through "the change" early? According to WebMD, premature menopause is often determined through a physical exam, coupled with a blood test and an estradiol test, which will give one of the best indications of whether it's premature menopause or not.
Although you can't completely stop or reverse early menopause, the symptoms can be treated and managed. According to Healthline, hormone therapies such as hormone replacement therapy and menopausal hormone therapy can help manage the symptoms associated with early menopause.
If you think you may be experiencing premature menopause, talk to your doctor. Your healthcare provider can help minimize the effects premature menopause has on your life and help you navigate (and survive) premature menopause successfully. The following signs can be an indicator that you need to seek medical attention.
1. Irregular Periods
According to Self, missed periods can be a sign of early menopause. Although there are certainly other reasons why you could skip a period or experience heavier or lighter flow than usual, if you miss many periods or don't get one for more than a year, you could be experiencing premature menopause.
2. Mood Swings
Mood swings happen. They happen during pregnancy, they happen when PMSing, they happen when you're stressed, you get the picture. Frequent mood swings could indicate premature menopause, however, according to SheKnows. While it could be an easily overlooked sign, it could also be one of the earliest.
3. Sleep Problems
It's never comfortable to feel as though you're sweating through your pajamas, but this could be common and exaggerated if you're experiencing premature menopause. Not to mention, according to Today's Parent, night sweats could cause difficulty sleeping during premature menopause. Zero fun.
4. Vaginal Dryness
According to the aforementioned WebMD article, some women experience vaginal dryness during menopause. Therefore, that is you're experiencing it early, you may be suffering from premature menopause before middle age.
5. Frequent Urination
Has your bladder become the size of a pea overnight? Frequent urination or difficulty controlling your bladder might be an early indicator that you're going through menopause, according to the aforementioned Healthline article. If you're experiencing this symptom, talk to your doctor, because frequent urination could also be a sign that you have another condition and aren't actually experiencing menopause early.
6. Difficulty Conceiving
Ssome women are not aware that they're going through menopause until they struggle with infertility. According to Broadly, dealing with infertility while also experiencing symptoms of PMS can be emotionally exhausting and quite isolating.
7. Long Periods
Although it contradicts the idea that a missed period means premature menopause, the aforementioned Healthline article noted that long periods can be early signs of menopause.
8. Concentration Issues
As if these physical symptoms of early menopause early aren't enough, the aforementioned article from Today's Parent noted that women experiencing premature menopause also experience concentration and memory issues.
9. Mild Depression
According to the previously mentioned WebMD article, mild depression can also be a sign of premature menopause. Since your hormones are falling, it's natural that your emotions would be a little out of whack. Additionally, you may develop mild depression after receiving a diagnosis of premature menopause, which, let's be honest, would be more than understandable.