Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Have Early Menopause Symptoms Evaluated By Your Physician

Early menopause symptoms include changes in menstrual periods and increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. These can show up as early as age 35.

Changes in menstrual periods that may be related to the reduced estrogen levels that accompany the years before menopause include heavy or lighter flow, missed periods and spotting between periods. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other more serious conditions, including cancer, so the importance of regular check-ups can not be overemphasized.

As a woman ages her ovaries produce less estrogen, because there are a decreasing number of egg cells inside of them. We are born with a finite number of egg cells and one of the primary functions of estrogen is to prepare the uterus to receive a fertilized one. Other organs produce estrogen, as well, but to a lesser extent. Thus, as the time of menopause approaches, which literally means the cessation of menses or menstruation, and estrogen levels in the body decrease, a woman may experience a variety of different symptoms.

One of the early menopause symptoms is an increased number of premenstrual symptoms. Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is related to decrease levels of estrogen, as well. The amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries varies during the month. The least amounts are produced during the days immediately preceding a period, but the levels begin to gradually decrease during the last two weeks of the cycle. Women who suffer from migraine headaches report more frequent and severe episodes during this time. Women who had migraines during puberty often find that they accompany early menopause symptoms, as well.

A woman?s experience with menopause and the years leading up to it varies. Either some women are less sensitive to changing hormonal levels or other factors may be at play. Poor diet or poor nutrition can cause irregularities in menstrual cycles at any age. Caffeine and alcohol can increase symptoms of PMS, trigger migraines and hot flashes in some women.

Not usually one of the earliest signs of menopause, hot flashes or flushes are believed to be related to reduced estrogen levels or changes in circulation. Most women experience them at some point during the years leading up to menopause. When they occur at night, they are referred to as night sweats and can interrupt sleep. Women have found that certain things increase their number or severity. Alcohol and caffeine were mentioned above, but spicy foods, cigarette smoke, stress and even tight clothing can also bring them on.

If other more serious conditions have been ruled out, many early menopause symptoms can be relieved with dietary changes, lifestyle changes and herbal supplements, like black cohosh, green tea and red clover. To learn more about these and other natural products that can help, please visit the Menopause and PMS website.

Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for more than twenty years before becoming a freelance writer. Currently she writes informational health articles, focused on women?s issues. You can read more at

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