Early menopause can occur for a variety of reasons. Some women are genetically disposed to entering the life stage before the average age, while others may opt-in to early menopause for medical reasons. If you think you may be experiencing menopause early, it’s always best to talk to your doctor. But, if you’re in the early stages of questioning or just want to know more, here’s some advice we’ve rounded up about managing early menopause.
Understand the symptoms of early menopause
“Common symptoms of earlier-than-average menopause include increased stress, anxiety, and depression. These conditions “often result from infertility and other early menopause health issues.” In other words, the changes patients face when their bodies undergo this process earlier than expected take a toll on their mental health, that may be unrelated to the physiological hormone changes taking place.”
Forget WebMD and Head to Your Doctor’s Office
“If you have even the slightest suspicion you’re going through early menopause, you should head to your doctor’s office for some testing. There are several ways your doctor can determine whether or not you’re starting menopause, including a physical exam and a blood test that will rule out pregnancy and thyroid disease. The best test, however, is one that measures the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in your system. When your ovaries start to shut down, your estrogen levels decrease. When estrogen declines, your FSH levels will be higher—a pretty clear sign that you’re in menopause.”
Don’t let night sweats get you down
“Night sweats can be caused by fluctuating blood sugar levels as well as fluctuating hormones, so avoid foods that are high on the glycemic index, such as refined sugar (cookies) and refined carbohydrates (white bread). Go for grains, legumes and starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes) instead.”
Less booze, more water
“Alcohol and sugar will also make things worse. Alcohol consumption can increase mood swings, the intensity of hot flashes, and affect sleep quality. Sugar consumption can cause deeper dips in mood, affect sleeping patterns, and expedite weight gain associated with menopause.”
Connect With Your Body
Consider a class like Yoga for Mood Swings if you need some relief from your mood swings during menopause or start to journal as a way to keep track of your symptoms over time. Paired with mindfulness, this can help identify what is due to menopause symptoms and what is a sign of stress or anxiety or depression from other factors in your life. Find a positive affirmation or two to jot down on the pages of your journal that can serve as words of encouragement.