Meno-Pause for Thought: Premature and Early Menopause

Menopause is a transformative period in a woman's life, but the experience can vary significantly from person to person. While menopause typically occurs around 52, many women face a distinct challenge—premature or early menopause.

As part of World Menopause Awareness Month, we'd like to shed light on this lesser-discussed aspect of menopause, recognising the unique struggles and concerns of those who experience menopause before age 40 or between 40 and 45.

Menopause before age 40 is termed premature menopause, whilst menopause between 40 and 45 is classified as early menopause. Certain factors, such as smoking and specific medications or treatments, can trigger menopause earlier than the average age.

Early or premature menopause happens when the ovaries cease hormone production and menstrual periods stop at a younger age than usual, which can be due to natural reasons or medical interventions, such as the surgical removal of both ovaries via a hysterectomy.

Causes of Early or Premature Menopause  

Early or premature menopause can arise due to various reasons:

• Women with a family history of early or premature menopause are at an increased risk.
• Smoking is linked to reaching menopause earlier by up to two years, often leading to more severe menopausal symptoms.
• Chemotherapy or pelvic radiation can damage ovaries and halt periods permanently or temporarily.
• Surgical removal of both ovaries, known as bilateral oophorectomy, causes immediate menopause symptoms.
• Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus, can lead to menopause if ovaries are removed. In some cases, natural menopause might occur earlier than expected.
• Health Conditions such as autoimmune diseases, HIV and AIDS, missing chromosomes, and chronic fatigue syndrome are associated with early or premature menopause.

Recognising Early Menopause

Understanding the signs and symptoms of early menopause is essential for ensuring you get the right help. Menopause is confirmed when a woman has not had her period for 12 consecutive months. Symptoms like hot flushes, irregular periods, sleep disturbances, mood changes and vaginal dryness often accompany early menopause. While blood tests measuring oestrogen, luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) can help build a picture, it's important to note that they are not necessarily diagnostic of menopause. A comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional, considering a range of factors, is crucial to diagnose and manage early menopause accurately.

Impacts of Early Menopause

Women experiencing early or premature menopause may face unique challenges, including a higher risk of heart disease and osteoporosis due to prolonged lower oestrogen levels. The abrupt change in fertility and bodily functions can also cause emotional distress, mood disorders and, in some cases, depression. Seeking medical support is essential.

Nu Mind Wellness can help you on your journey, whether you choose Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or opt for alternative approaches to manage your menopause.

Your well-being is our priority, and we are committed to providing the most comprehensive all-in-one Menopause Support Formula to support your mind and body.

Combined with a healthy Mediterranean Diet, stress management, good sleep hygiene and a well-planned exercise regime we can get you off to a great start – and remember it’s never too early to make a positive change!

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