There are many reasons why women might experience an early menopause. Depending upon their situation there may be a number of challenges, but also some advantages of early menopause.
Are there any Advantages of Early Menopause?
What is an Early Menopause?
Some women might experience their menopause earlier than the average age. In the UK and USA that is 51. Our actual menopause is the date of our last period. The time running up to that when we are experiencing menopausal symptoms is usually referred to as the peri-menopause. For many women, they will begin experiencing symptoms years before they are 51. As it is an average date, many will keep having their periods and menopausal symptoms for a while after they are 51.
In this post, I am writing about early and premature menopause interchangeably as being when periods stop before the age of 40 or earlier.
Causes of Early Menopause
There are a number of reasons why women might have an early menopause.
- Genetics – it can run in families. Although it is also important to consider if you are physically like your mother. How many of her constitutional traits do you share?
- Surgery such as hysterectomy – if this happens before our natural menopause, this marks the end of our periods. You may have menopausal symptoms straight away, especially if your ovaries were also removed. And even if our ovaries have been left menopausal symptoms can start sooner. If you are considering surgery you might find my post on Hysterectomy Questions to Ask to be of interest.
- Treatment or drug interventions such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
- Stress can have a huge impact on our overall hormonal balance and functioning. This might contribute to an earlier or more difficult menopause.
- Premature Ovarian Failure – this is a complex diagnosis that may involve many different factors. These may include auto-immune, genetic or constitutional factors .
Every woman’s history and experience will be different. There will be challenges and disappointments. Maybe from the cause of the early menopause. Possibly what that then means for the woman concerned. I would not want to underestimate those in any way. This post is offered as support in seeking positives. Making the most of any advantages of early menopause.
What are the Advantages of Early Menopause?
Significant life stages and health issues offer us the opportunity to take a step back and review. How are we taking care of ourselves? Do we need to reconsider how we eat, exercise, relax, work, and our relationships? How we live and what we are here for?
As a practitioner specialising in menopause for over 15 years, I regularly see this opportunity. And if that time comes earlier, you can seize the moment. Making life healthier and happier both now and in the longer run. You have a head start on the mid-life health and existential crisis. Heading it off at the early menopause pass. Then reap the rewards of having addressed these core issues earlier on.
And when women make these kinds of changes there are usually benefits that flow through to family and friends. They too can become more aware.
Other advantages of early menopause may depend even more so upon the women’s individual situation. For a friend of mine, it just ran in the family. She was pleased to go through it when she was younger. She felt she had more energy to cope with it then. It also meant she was not dealing with her menopause later in life when other health issues might be around as well.
It may depend upon your monthly cycle and periods how you feel about them stopping. Some women are relieved to be released from years of PMS, unpredictable or difficult periods. There are many ways in which homeopaths can support women who experience these kinds of issues. Whether they are peri-menopausal or younger.
Having an early menopause can mean a reduced lifetime exposure to oestrogen. This might reduce the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers, e.g. breast cancer. This advantage would be lost if HRT was taken in any form. Even in small doses or as bioidentical HRT . If it is powerful enough to create a physiological effect then it potentially comes with side effects.
Finding Help in an Early Menopause
An early menopause will bring its challenges. It is important that we find the right support in navigating the way forwards.
Do become informed. Read around. Talk to different people and practitioners. It is crucial to realise that different healthcare professionals will each have a preferred way to approach early menopause. There is more on offer than hormones and surgery. Take time to explore your options. It is your choice. Medical interventions are not always necessary. And if they are you can still benefit from lifestyle measures and remedies. Either way, you can create a range of resources that suit you and your situation.
In practice, I find women sometimes need permission to prioritise their own health and happiness. Culturally we may have been brought up to see this as “selfish”. Many wait until well into their late 40’s and 50’s to look after themselves. Instead, you can connect with who you are and what you need now. Perhaps that is the greatest advantage of early menopause.
I hope you have found this to have been of interest. If you feel you would like help, I see patients at both clinics and via Skype. I also run workshops. You can book an initial free 15-minute mini-consultation to see if my approach might suit you. Please do contact me.
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