What is generally understood as early menopause is menopause that occurs before the age of 40.
This may be due to a number of reasons including genetic ones, hormonal imbalances, illnesses, medical treatments etc.
The symptoms of early menopause manifest themselves when the ovaries of a woman stop producing eggs and also production of the hormones is considerably reduced.
These symptoms of early menopause are much the same as when menopause arrives in due course:
- Infertility is one of the prime symptoms of early menopause. When a woman is unable to become pregnant, even after one year or more of attempting to do so, she is sometimes referred to as infertile. So the inability to get pregnant even after long periods of trying is one of the symptoms.
- Irregular periods or going long stretches without menstruation, can also be a symptom of early menopause
- Hot flashes are one of the characteristics of menopause, also experienced by women undergoing premature menopause. This will typically involve the body’s thermostat system being affected by hormonal fluctuations. A hot flash is characterized by intense heat being felt with sweating and rapid heartbeat; some women may have a hot flash that lasts a couple of minutes while others will have a hot flash episode that may last for half an hour.
- Night sweats are analogous to hot flashes; however these happen at night and can often be a major cause of sleep disturbances or insomnia that are themselves a symptom of early menopause. Many women are troubled by night sweats which can wake them up and then they may have difficulty getting back to sleep or they may have insomnia unrelated to the night sweats all of which could be early menopause symptoms.
- Since menopause, even early menopause is characterized by reduction of female hormones produced by the body; this can have a direct impact on sexual activity. Vaginal dryness or painful intercourse is often one of the symptoms of early menopause, as is a decreased interest in sex and physical intimacy.
- Mood swings similarly could be symptoms of early menopause. Women may also experience feelings of anxiety, depression, of befuddlement or disorientation. Many women feel they are on an emotional roller coaster and these can all be attributed to hormonal fluctuations .
In general it is observed that women who have early menopause experience more severe and noticeable symptoms than do women to encounter menopause after age 45, or menopause in regular course.