However, remember that missed periods can also be a sign of pregnancy. For this reason, women should not be quick to conclude that they are experiencing perimenopause, even if they are in their 40s.
Early Menopause is also Possible
Since early perimenopause is a possibility, early menopause could also happen. Many women experience menopause when they are 48 to 52 years old, but it might happen sooner than expected.
As of now, there are no clear, scientific reasons as to why the menstrual cycle stops early, but some reports indicate two possible reasons for early menopause. These are:
- Never having children. Studies show that pregnancy, especially having more than one child may delay menopause.
- Smoking. Several kinds of research concluded that smoking could make women experience menopause 2 years earlier than non-smokers.
Additionally, women who have certain health conditions, and those undergoing chemotherapy may go through menopause earlier than normal.
Menopause has certain Symptoms
The symptoms of perimenopause often persist when the menstrual cycle stops at menopause, but there are additional symptoms. They are:
- Urinary urgency
- Insomnia or the general difficulty in falling and staying asleep
- Dryness in the skin, eyes, and mouth
- Changes in emotions, such as mood swings, mild depression, and irritability
- Reduced sex drive or libido
- Pains and aches in the joints along with stiffness
- Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Women can get Treated Due to Menopause
Although the menstrual cycle typically stops due to the normal aging process, some women get treatment for menopause. The treatment often focuses on managing the signs and symptoms, to let the woman continue her day-to-day activities without disruption.
The two treatment options are:
- Hormonal Therapy
- Non-hormonal Therapy
The goal of hormonal therapy is to supplement the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Either a woman takes estrogen hormone alone, or she opts for the combination therapy where she receives both estrogen and progesterone.
Hormone therapy could help relieve symptoms like vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. At times, it’s also used to stop hair loss and prevent osteoporosis.
Hormonal therapy may be effective for some, but others are more comfortable with non-hormonal management. In this management, a woman makes changes in her diet such as limiting her caffeine intake and avoiding spicy foods. Other things included in non-hormonal therapy are:
- Avoiding triggers of hot flashes, such as thick clothes, warm bedroom, and smoking
- Joining support groups or keeping in touch with family and friends
Women who have underlying conditions or those who got treatment for breast cancer may opt for non-hormonal management than hormonal therapy.
There is Such a Thing as Surgical Menopause
Most women experience menopause naturally, but for others, it’s a result of surgery.
One good example is when a woman undergoes oophorectomy or the operation that removes the ovaries. Immediately after removing both ovaries, the symptoms of menopause will surface.
On the other hand, if a woman undergoes a hysterectomy or the surgery that removes the uterus while preserving her ovaries, the monthly bleeding will stop, but the other menopause symptoms may not show up right away.