Menopause can easily be referred to as the most agonizing and tormenting phase in a woman’s life. It is not an easy task for a woman to contend the various alterations in the body. Menopause is the time when the periods finally stop and a woman becomes incapable of child bearing. This is a natural and inevitable process in which a woman’s body endures drastic hormonal changes.
Menopause generally occurs between the ages of forty five and fifty five. However, in some women, menopause can occur before the age of forty. This condition is called premature menopause. There is no specific cause for premature menopause; however certain diseases or infections and tubal litigation are believed to trigger menopause at an early age.
Symptoms of Premature Menopause
The onset of these symptoms at an unusual stage in a woman’s life leads to misinterpretations and they are generally associated with other conditions. It takes time to associate these symptoms with menopause. The most prominent symptoms of premature menopause are as follows.
Irregular and Missed Periods
Irregular periods are one among the most conspicuous symptoms of premature menopause. An unusual difference in the length of the menstrual cycle is noticeable. The length of variation is generally eight to twenty days. Sometimes the variation may extend beyond twenty days.
Infrequent or missed periods are also common during premature menopause. This condition is called oligomenorrhea. Women approaching premature menopause may have only four to eight menstrual cycles in a year, contrary to the normal eleven to twelve cycles.
Heavy or Light Periods
Periods that are heavier or lighter than normal are common during the onset of premature menopause. During the onset of premature menopause women may experience extremely heavy periods with excessive amount of blood loss and severe pain.
Some women may have light periods with very little blood loss lasting for only one or two days a month.
Vaginal dryness is characterised by the loss of moisture in the vaginal lining. The vagina becomes dry and the walls become thinner. The vaginal walls also lose the flexibility and elasticity, bringing about complications and causing pain during sexual contacts. Reduction in estrogen levels causes this dryness during premature menopause.
Sudden increase in the body temperature during odd hours, irrespective of the environmental conditions is another common symptom of premature menopause. The rise in temperature is accompanied by profuse sweating and rapid heartbeat. The feeling of heat usually arises in the face or chest and spreads throughout the body. Each attack may last anywhere between three to thirty minutes. Hot flashes occur more frequently in the nights.
Bladder incontinence refers to the unintentional loss of urine. This is a common symptom during premature menopause and most women suffer from this embarrassing condition. You may experience leakage or dripping of urine when you laugh, cough or sneeze. A constant urge to urinate and a sensation of bladder fullness are also common. This is caused due to the drop in estrogen levels as estrogen plays an important role in the functioning of bladder and urethra.
Decreased Sex Drive
Reduced sex desire before you hit the right age of menopause could be an obvious symptom of premature menopause. The loss of interest is due to hormonal fluctuations.
The lowering levels of estrogen and progesterone affect your libido and vaginal dryness only adds to the woes.
Women going through an early menopause experience several emotional breaks. The decreasing hormonal levels cause mood swings, depression, anxiety and inattention.
Extreme fatigue, bloating, dry skin, dry eyes and mouth are the other common symptoms of premature menopause. The severity of these symptoms varies in different women. However, an early menopause is linked to more severe symptoms.