In the Early to Late Thirties: First Symptoms of Menopause
Women in the USA usually start to go through the menopausal process in their early to late thirties. There are some countries where the process happens much earlier, such as in third world countries where child bearing starts earlier and nutrition and doctor's care is not as readily available. Although many women start the process in their thirties, many more do not begin the process until their early forties and finally reach complete menopause by their early fifties.
Although this is the norm for most women in the USA, there are some women who have premature menopausal symptoms. This is usually only the case when women have experienced extreme events in their lives, specifically impacting their bodies in and extreme way. One example of this is if a woman has had a hysterectomy, so that her body no longer produces eggs or the hormones that accompany menstruation. When this is the case, which can happen in their twenties, the woman is usually put on hormone therapy so that she is relieved of the symptoms of menopause. Another example is if the woman has been in treatment for cancer and has undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
What to Expect
The first symptoms of menopause usually occur in the mid to late thirties for most women. The first symptoms of menopause are usually irregular periods that change in some way besides the irregularity, such as becoming much lighter or much heavier than they were previously. These symptoms can last from four to eight years before any other symptoms show themselves and before full menopause is reached.
Some other first symptoms of menopause that are the most common are hot flashes and mood swings. Because the body of the woman is changing, there is a decreased amount of estrogen and progesterone that are produced by the body. There are also fewer eggs that are ripening and released through ovulation. The post ovulation surge of progesterone is decreased, all of which factors into the first symptoms of menopause where the woman experiences these hot flashes and mood swings.
Hot flashes can occur in the day or night time and can disrupt daily activities as well as sleep patterns. These hot flashes cause the woman to break out into a sweat and her face often turns red as she waits for it to pass. Since these outbreaks are dramatic, they are the most commonly recognized first symptoms of menopause. Mood swings are the other commonly recognized first symptoms of menopause since they can also cause extreme reactions such as depression and sadness, including a sense of loss and should be treated by a doctor.