Menopause occurs when it has been 12 months since a women’s last menstrual period. It typically happens around age 51; however, 1 in 100 women experience early menopause before the age of 40.1 This is caused by a premature slowing of ovarian function and loss of estrogen production – known as ovarian insufficiency (POI).
In most cases of POI the cause is unknown; however, environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke may increase your risk.3 Your risk of POI is also greater if you have an autoimmune disorder such as hypothyroidism or if your mother or sister experienced premature menopause.1,3
Early menopause symptoms are caused by changing hormone levels and may include infertility, irregular or missed periods, periods that are lighter or heavier than usual, trouble sleeping, and changes in mood.
Women who experience early or premature menopause may also be at increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.2
5 Signs of Early Menopause
- Skipped or irregular periods for 4 months.1-3
- Difficulty getting pregnant or infertility.1-3
- Hot flashes.2,3
- Irritability or mood swings.2,3
- Decreased interest in sex.2,3
If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause before the age of 40, it is important to have your FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and estradiol (a form of estrogen) levels checked. High levels of FSH (over 40 IU/I) along with low levels of estradiol (less than 50 pg/ml) typically indicate that your ovaries are shutting down their production of estrogen.1
How to Restore Your Hormone LevelsAs you approach menopause, your ovaries produce smaller amounts of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Restoring these hormones or treating hormone imbalances with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can help relieve uncomfortable menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
- Indian J Med Res. 2016 Apr;143(4):420–427.
- Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premature-ovarian-failure/symptoms-causes/dxc-20255567.
Accessed January 27, 2017.
- Available at https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/poi/conditioninfo/pages/default.aspx. Accessed January 27, 2017.