Early menopause and premature menopause can sound pretty alarming, but we’re here to help! Bioidentical hormones and lifestyle changes can all help you stay healthy even if you’re going through menopause earlier than expected.
If you’re going through early or premature menopause, bioidentical hormones may help reduce your symptoms and improve your health. Hormones are often used to help treat symptoms like hot flashes for menopausal women, and may also help reduce or relieve your early or premature menopause symptoms.
Also, many doctors recommend starting a hormone replacement therapy program if you start menopause before the age of 45. This can help reduce some of the health risks associated with lower estrogen levels.
Both early menopause and premature menopause happen before the the normal age range for menopause, which is between 45 and 55. The average age is about 51.
Menopause happens when your body produces less hormones and eventually stops menstruating. You’ve officially gone through menopause when you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Before this, you might have perimenopause symptoms, like irregular periods, hot flashes, mood changes, and other symptoms.
Early menopause is when you experience menopause between ages 40 and 45. About 5% of women experience early menopause. Premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian insufficiency, is when you experience menopause before age 40. This is even more rare, affecting only about 1% of women.
Nonetheless, it’s important to know the signs of early and premature menopause. One of the first signs is if you haven’t had a period in three months and you’re under 45. This is a sign to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.
Now, missing a period for three months can be caused by a lot of different things. For example, pregnancy or even high stress levels. So, it’s important to keep this in mind and come talk to us about your symptoms.
Depending on your symptoms, we may use a few different things to diagnose premature or early menopause. For instance, we may talk about your symptoms, discuss family and medical history, run hormone tests, and evaluate you for underlying or contributing conditions.
If you are diagnosed with early menopause or premature menopause, we provide personalized treatment plans to help you stay healthy. We know diagnosis may be a shock and you might have a lot of feelings about it. However, there are many early menopause treatment options available, like bioidentical hormones, to help you live your best life!
A lot of the symptoms of early menopause and premature menopause are the same as menopause at the average age. You might notice irregular periods, skipped periods, and other symptoms. Some of these include:
For some women, early menopause symptoms come on quickly, while others experience more gradual symptoms. We’re here to listen and help you find answers. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms and think you may be experiencing premature or early menopause, book an appointment with our healthcare providers.
So, what actually causes early and premature menopause? At the very basic level, any time your eggs don’t mature or don’t get released, this can cause early or premature menopause. Your ovaries are responsible for this process as well as making estrogen and progesterone. When your ovaries aren’t functioning at the level they did during pre-menopause, then menopause can set in, regardless of your age.
There are many different things that could cause premature or early menopause. Some women have a very distinct situation that directly points to the cause. In other women, the reasons may not be entirely clear.
For example, women who undergo chemo or radiation treatments may be at an increased risk for early or premature menopause, as these treatments can damage the ovaries. Certain autoimmune disorders and infections can also affect ovarian function and lead to early or premature menopause.
Surgery to remove the ovaries or the ovaries and uterus is another common cause of early and premature menopause.
Generally, if you’re related to women who have also experienced early or premature menopause, then you may have an increased risk of it yourself. Many experts believe that the age of menopause is genetic. Most women experience menopause within a few years of the age their mothers did. So, if your mother went through early or premature menopause, you may have a bigger risk of doing so, too.
Smoking is another factor that may increase the risk of early or premature menopause. It can cause damage to your ovaries. This, in turn, can lead you to experience menopause at a younger age.
If you’re over 35, then your risk for early or premature menopause also goes up. Premature menopause before 35 is quite rare.
Also, if you have genetic conditions like Turner’s Syndrome or Fragile X Syndrome, you may also be at a higher risk for early or premature menopause.
If you’re experiencing early or premature menopause, our providers may recommend treatment with bioidentical hormones to help replace the ones your ovaries aren’t producing anymore. The North American Menopause Society recommends women who experience early or premature menopause take hormone replacement therapy until the average age of natural menopause (about 51). This is because there are many risks associated with low estrogen tied to premature and early menopause.
Estrogen plays some pretty important roles in the body. Women who go through early or premature menopause have lower estrogen levels earlier, which can lead to many different problems. Studies have found that women who experience early or premature menopause have an increased risk for heart disease, cognitive impairment like dementia, osteoporosis, diabetes, and even death from any cause.
Bioidentical hormones may help reduce these risks by providing your body with the level of estrogen your ovaries would normally produce. Bioidenticals are the same molecular structure as the hormones your body produces. We use FDA-approved bioidenticals to help treat menopause symptoms.
When natural menopause occurs after 45, typically hormone replacement therapy includes taking doses much lower than what your ovaries produced during pre-menopause. However, for those with early or premature menopause, we try to mimic your normal ovarian function as closely as possible. This typically means giving you doses close to the levels your ovaries would produce.
It’s important to note that these doses still aren’t high enough to effectively prevent pregnancy. It’s a common misconception that women who go through early and premature menopause cannot get pregnant. However, you may have intermittent ovulation and an estimated 5-10% of women can still get pregnant after being diagnosed with early or premature menopause. This differs from most other women who experience menopause at an older age. Therefore, if you want to prevent pregnancy, you’ll also need to use contraceptives, such as birth control or condoms. Our providers can talk to you about this, too, to help you make the right decisions for your health.
In addition to bioidentical hormones, we may also recommend other treatments or lifestyle changes to help with early or premature menopause. We’re your source for total health solutions, and we’re here to help you feel your best. Depending on your situation, our providers may also recommend vitamin supplements, diet changes, exercise, and other healthy changes to help reduce the risk of complications from early or premature menopause as well as help with your symptoms and overall well being.
Whether you’re experiencing unexplained symptoms or want to take part in a preventative healthcare routine, our providers at HerKare are here to help. Above all, we’re here to listen and help you improve your health. As a clinic owned and operated by women for women, we get it. Finding good healthcare shouldn’t be frustrating or frightening! Whether you’re looking for advice for staying healthy or are interested in testosterone replacement therapy for your declining sex drive, we’re here to help and discuss your options. Book an appointment now at a HerKare location near you for caring, compassionate, high quality care.