Are you feeling fatigued? In the middle of your sleep, do you get night sweats? Have you been experiencing hot flashes or insomnia? If you have, there's a chance you’re going through menopause. For those of you who are between the ages of 45 and 55, you’re right on time to start the process, but for those of you under 40, you’re probably experiencing early menopause. While uncommon, it definitely occurs in some women but what causes early menopause?
Menstruation usually lasts in a woman for over 30 years and the process ends with menopause. With the average age being 51, most women use this as a marker for when they'll probably start the process, but there is a small minority of women who experience early menopause. Shying from any confusion with the name, early menopause is just what you’d expect. This is when menopause begins in women under 40 years old, but the real question is… what causes it?
Estrogen is a hormone that plays a significant role in the female reproductive system. Controlled by the ovaries, estrogen levels diminish greatly which leads to the onset of menopause. This is mirrored in your weight. Estrogen is often stored in fat, and this means that women with less fat on their bodies deplete it more quickly. This is just one reason a woman might experience early menopause.
I think it's safe to say that everyone understands that smoking is bad for the health. Smoking also negatively affects menopause by making it start early. Menopause can begin as soon as 1-2 years early in women who smoke regularly.
For women who develop rheumatoid arthritis, early menopause might be an effect of this. While this is something you might be able to understand if you develop it, early menopause can happen as an effect simply from your genetics.
Early menopause isn't something that most women can prepare for. While this is true, there are ways to lessen the chances of it happening. First, if you’re a smoker, stop smoking - now. Second, ensure that you’re maintaining a healthy body weight. Lastly, speak to your gynecologist! If it's something you’re really worried about, schedule an appointment to talk about your options!