Premature Menopause Symptoms – Yes, Virginia, Hot Flashes Suck

by Laura Ramirez on September 27, 2011

Premature menopause symptoms are on the rise as more and more women go through the change of life earlier than expected. (Premature menopause is defined as going through the change before the age of 45). Although scientists are not sure why this is occurring … could it be too much stress or something in our food or in the environment … many women are finding themselves saddled with symptoms precisely when they’ve achieved much-coveted career goals and are finally thinking about settling down, getting pregnant and having a baby.

So what are these symptoms? Although symptoms vary with the woman (and the lucky ones among us have none at all), the long list includes but is not limited to: hot flashes, night sweats, chills, emotional outbursts, mood swings, depression, weight gain, erratic periods or no periods at all (you’re diagnosed with menopause when you haven’t had a period in 12 months), lowered libido (read: zero interest in sex), vaginal dryness, hair loss, thinning bones and a whole host of other happy symptoms.

Although some women experience premature menopause symptoms due to the surgical removal of their ovaries or other exclusively female organs, this is not always the case. Here’s an excerpt from an article on premature ovarian failure (a.k.a. premature menopause) and some ideas about what could be causing the trend for women to go through it early:
Menopause is derived from the Greek word pausis (cessation) and the root men (month). This describes the change in women where the end of fertility is traditionally indicated by the permanent stopping of monthly menstruation or menses. The natural age for menopause worldwide is 51, but in countries like India the natural age of menopause is around 49.

Women with a poor quality of life and with poor nutritional status are likely to deal with premature menopause. The causes of premature meno-pause include genetic causes such as chromosomal abnormality, familial premature ovarian failure, metabolic disorders and autoimmune disorders. There are also many cases where infections like tuberculosis and mumps may lead to the onset of premature menopause. A host of autoimmune disorders may be associated with this too — like asthma, anaemia (acquired hae-molytic, pernicious), diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, Graves’s disease or lupus. Physical trauma or interactions that result in chemo-therapy, smoking (polycystic hydrocarbons found in cigarettes destroy the oocyte), surgery to the uterus or adnexa may also lead to early menopause.

Deccan Chronicle

So if you do have premature menopause symptoms, does this mean that your life has just been cut short? I wondered this myself when at the tender age of 39 (at the ripe old age of 51, thirty-nine seems like a distant memory, like adolescence), I inexplicably and quite suddenly, found myself in the throes of menopause. Although most of the people (doctors, sisters-in-law, friends, hubby) that I talked to tried to soothe my concerns, looking back, I do believe that premature menopause is associated with premature aging and decline. Before menopause, it was relatively easy to lose weight. Before menopause, I didn’t have all these aches and pains. I didn’t need glasses to write articles and the list goes on. Of course, you could quite reasonably point out that I am 12 years old, so it could just be due to aging. (After all, we all know that it sucks to be old). But seriously, think about it, after going through menopause, your risk for almost everything goes up: coronary artery disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, gum disease, ovarian cancer, formation of cataracts, blah, blah, blah.

My solution: look death in the eye and laugh. Make it one of those deep belly laughs, like when you’re laughing at your husband because he’s such a complete and utter goof.

You have to laugh because otherwise you’d cry.

Going through menopause prematurely is definitely a mourning process which we will examine at length in another article.

premature menopause symptoms

Premature menopause symptoms can be relieved with patches, pills, gels, yoga, meditation ... yep, all that.

But, seriously, there are a lot of things that you can do to counteract menopause. Fun things: like exercise more and eat less, cut out alcohol chocolate and caffeine (okay, I’m on a roll now and can’t stop the sarcasm).

Of course, there are plenty of medical tools to stop premature menopause symptoms: like patches, pills, gels and over-the-counter estrogen creams like Source Naturals Phyto-Estrogen Cream, 4 oz. Of course, hormone therapy is not recommended long term, so eventually, after the symptoms subside, you will have to give this up, unless you want to end up like a pathetic Suzanne Somers, forever in search of her Chrissie years.

Ahem. Since you’re a real woman, not a Chrissie doll, here are my words of wisdom for those who are up to it.

The great thing about all the things that you have to “give up” to get through menopause is that ultimately, you emerge a healthier, more conscious person who is more authentically “you.” This means that you are not easily swayed by the opinion of others (read: friends, colleagues, mother, children, husband, in that order) and who values her health and well-being above all else. Yes, you finally get to learn what it means to make your body into your temple (yes, no more fasting or diet pills).

So how does this translate into action? For some, it may mean incorporating yoga, meditation and green tea into your daily rituals (although as I’m writing this, I am sipping a glass of wine). Seriously though, these 3 practices will become your new best friends because although they may sound hokey to the spiritually uninformed, it is through these practices you will end up liking and knowing yourself a whole lot better than you did before you ever went through the change. Change is good. Change is life. And this, Ladies, is why I’m here … I’m the guide, the angel on your shoulder, who will get you through this personal evolution.

How about you? Which premature menopause symptoms are you experiencing? Which are giving you the most problems and what are you doing to alleviate them? What are your biggest fears about going through menopause early. (In other words, how can other women help?)

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