Menopause catches up with every woman eventually.
This happens when the egg-producing ovaries cease to produce any more eggs and also produces less oestrogen (the hormone responsible for the reproductive cycle).
When you do not have your periods for over a year, then you enter the menopause stage.
The average age for the onset of menopause is about fifty one. However, sometimes it may begin as early as or even before forty for some women.
Early menopause is unhealthy as there are lots of health concerns that are associated with it. One of such concerns is infertility. Others include high blood pressure, increased LDL cholesterol and reduced HDL cholesterol, obesity, dementia, depression, osteoporosis and even premature death sometimes.
According to one study carried out in 2012, early menopause is associated with stroke and coronary heart disease, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors
Women may enter early menopause for lots of reasons. We’re going to talk about these reasons for your health’s sake, so you know how to avoid it as clearly as possible.
Conditions That Increase Your Risk of Early Menopause
Whether actively or passively, smoking has been found to cause early menopause. It is linked to not just menopause but fertility problems. This is largely because of the negative effect tobacco has on the hormone levels and the reproductive system.
An analysis was carried out in 2012 in which it was seen that regular smokers are more likely to experience menopause earlier than non-smokers.
According to another study, both active and passive smoking has strong linking with high risk infertility and natural menopause occurring earlier than 50.
Yet another study published in 2015 says that regular smokers are more at risk of hitting menopause much earlier than women who do not smoke and that more incidents have occurred in which smokers hit menopause earlier.
A recent published study in Epidemiology carried out a research on 116,429 nurses from the Nurses’ health study from 1989 to 2011. Three groups of nurses were analysed, the current smokers, former smokers and never-smokers. At the end of the day, it was found that there was a reduced respectively of early menopause.
Looking at this odds, we advise that you quit smoking as soon as you can. If it’s going to be difficult for you, then we suggest that you seek support from friends, family and health experts.
Women who have drinking problems are more likely to experience more than early menopause. They may suffer lots of reproductive problems too.
With an addiction to alcohol usually comes a lack of healthy proteins, vitamins and fiber. These deficiencies can hamper the reproductive hormones of a woman and may even cause a trigger in health problems like malnutrition, liver disease and pancreatic disease.
Often, irregular periods, period stops or even early menopause may result from the health complications.
A study carried out in 2017 on Korean women found that the ones who experienced menopause at a younger age had something to do with alcohol consumption.
To reduce this risk of hitting the menopause stage early, it’s best you actively try to quit drinking. If you’re going to get a drink, it’s best you do so in moderation. Even though to lots of people, “moderate “ may be subjective, the recommended moderate amount of alcohol is a drink in one day for a woman and about two drinks a day for a man.
3. Being Underweight
Anorexia, bulimia or being an elite athlete can also trigger early menopause. The fat tissue is responsible for the storage of oestrogen. What this means is that if you’re underweight, you have less oestrogen and as a result, could result in early onset of menopause.
A study published in 2017 under Human Reproduction states that women who are underweight are at risk for early menopause. This study typically followed over 70,000 premenopausal women who were in between the ages of 25 to 42 beginning in 1989.
As the years passed, close to 3,000 of them were found to have their menopause before the age of 45. The ones who had a Body Mass Index under 18.5 had a 30% increased risk of hitting menopause early.
A healthy BMI is usually between 18.5 to 24.9. Anything below 18.5 is considered underweight and is thus unhealthy. Plus, it could lead to an increased risk of menopause.
If your Body Mass Index is below 18.5, we suggest you begin searching for ways to boost your weight. Eat the right foods, exercise healthily and your BMI is sure to increase.
4. Too Much Stress
Women who go through so much stress or who are finding it difficult to handle stress are more likely to hit menopause early.
According to studies, it’s impossible for stress alone to trigger the ovaries to stop functioning properly. However, stress has physical effects on the body which may have negative effects on your periods and psychological stress can negatively hamper your normal menstrual cycle.
Stress could also result in sleep problems, obesity and diabetes. These myriad of issues can affect the body negatively, including the hormonal changes in the body and the ovaries. This will, in turn, lead to early onset of menopause.
On the flip side, the early onset of menstruation can sometimes lead to sadness, fear, anxiety and stress. The good news is that you can learn to manage stress with relaxation techniques like yoga, regular exercise, deep breathing, healthy diet changes and other techniques.
On the other hand, for many women, early menopause can cause more stress, sadness, fear and anxiety.
If you’ve had to undergo radiotherapy or chemotherapy in order to get rid of cancer cells, then there is a tendency that you might experience early menopause.
If you have gone through chemotherapy or radiation treatment to kill cancer cells, there is a high possibility that you may experience early menopause.
Chemotherapy and radiation can cause damage to your ovaries and trigger the stop in the production of oestrogen which could in turn lead to early menopause.
One study published in 2001 in Human Reproduction states that undergoing high radiotherapy and chemotherapy does could increase long-term survival of cancer patients who are still young but could ultimately lead to lots of side effects like infertility and ovarian failure.
Another study published in 2016 says that in premenopausal patients, side effects like premature ovarian failure is often noticed.
Even though there are chances that regular menses may resume after chemotherapy, patients are still at really high risk of developing early menopause as a result of the damage done to their ovaries as a result of cytotoxic therapy.