Menopause is a condition that typically impacts women aged 40-50 years old. It is marked by the end of the menstrual cycle and is only officially diagnosed once you’ve gone a complete year without a period. While it is described as a natural process, some women may not know that they are going through menopause until they experience early signs and symptoms. Let’s go over some of those warning signs so that you know what to expect as your body naturally undergoes menopause.
Common symptoms of menopause
In the months or years leading into menopause, you should expect many changes to occur to your body. As a by-product of said changes, you’ll experience many symptoms. A few of the more common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Changes in libido
- Weight changes
- Thinning hair
Unfortunately, women experience symptoms differently, so it’s difficult to determine what exactly you should expect as your body goes through the change of life. However, it’s important to let your doctor know if you experience any symptoms above. It could mean that you are starting the early stages of menopause, also known as perimenopause.
Keep in mind that you’ll likely experience some irregularity in your menstruation before your body goes through menopause. Your doctor may be able to prescribe some medications to help relieve some of the symptoms.
The average age for a woman to go through menopause is 51. However, a small percentage of women (1%) go through menopause before they reach the age of 40. This is referred to as premature menopause. This occurs when the ovaries no longer produce normal levels of hormones. In some instances, it may be due to an autoimmune condition. However, for many women, there is no clear cause. In the event that you go through menopause prematurely, your doctor will likely prescribe hormone replacement therapy for a period of time until you reach the natural age of menopause.
Speak to your doctor
While menopause is a typical part of aging, you should reach out to your doctor if you notice any sudden changes in your menstruation or other symptoms that may be a sign of menopause. Your medical provider can provide more information about what you should do to ensure that your body is as healthy as possible and that you receive the proper support.