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Menopause is a natural condition that usually occurs when a woman is in her late 40s to early 50s. If you’re still decades from this stage, you might think of it as a problem for future you. However, signs of early menopause can occur in about under the age of 40, according to studies. For some, the menstruation cycle stops altogether in young adulthood.

How can you tell whether your irregular periods are considered early menopause symptoms? Are there other signs you should look out for? Read below to learn more about premature menopause and what you can do to make the journey more bearable.

What Causes Early Menopause?

In many cases, can start earlier without any apparent reason. Factors like genetics, chromosome defects, and autoimmune diseases can influence the age at which a woman’s ovaries begin to decline in function. In addition, those who had their first period before the age of 11 are generally at a higher risk of undergoing the menopausal transition sooner than predicted.

There are also some other catalysts to keep on the radar. Chemotherapy and high-dose can significantly deplete ovarian follicles (small sacs that store mature eggs) and accelerate reproductive aging. Similarly, surgical removal of ovaries, often performed as part of a hysterectomy procedure, can abruptly induce signs of early menopause, regardless of age.

What Are the Signs of Early Menopause?

There are no differences between the symptoms of early menopause and standard perimenopause, except for the timing of onset. That said, the whole ordeal may be more confusing for someone who’s not yet in her middle age, partly because menopause is shrouded in taboo and often misunderstood.

If you’ve been missing your periods and are experiencing more than one of these symptoms, talk to a doctor who can rule out other health conditions and get you a proper diagnosis.

You feel hot all the time.

Hot flashes are the most common signs of early menopause. There’s no mistaking the sudden prickly heat and . These intense episodes can happen during the day or night, sometimes both, and may even cause lethargy and insomnia. Aside from the uncomfortable sensations, many women are also self-conscious about that come from excessive sweating.

Avoid triggers that may cause a spike in your body temperature. Skip booze, spicy food, and caffeine (yes, limit your coffee intake!) as these can cause the blood vessels to expand. The also recommends to help cope with hot flashes.

You’re more irritable.

Do you catch yourself grunting, yelling, and crying more often than usual? Hormonal fluctuations during early menopause can affect neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to mood swings and heightened irritability. When you’re feeling overwhelmed with emotions, it’s good to have some .

Engage in activities that can lower your stress levels, such as taking a in the park, reading a book, or screaming into a pillow with Netflix playing in the background. Let it out, but don’t forget to treat yourself kindly, too.

Sore muscles and headaches plague you.

A recent study has found that women with signs of early menopause are more likely to have , which tends to show up as tension headaches, stiff joints, and muscle aches. If these symptoms get in the way of your day-to-day activities, you can take over-the-counter medications to help alleviate them. Ice compress, , and also help give you temporary relief.

Your skin is going haywire.

As you enter perimenopause and menopause, the production of estrogen drops but the levels of androgens stay the same. This imbalance takes a toll on your skin, mainly resulting in . You may even find popping up everywhere, from your face to your back.

One way to combat these menopausal body skin issues is to use products that can improve skin hydration levels. Dove Go Fresh Sakura Blossom Body Wash with Sakura flower and pink Himalayan salt and Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Body Wash with cucumber and green tea extracts do this well, with their Microbiome Gentle Skin Prebiotics formula.

Meanwhile, for the face, use a combination of nourishing and exfoliating ingredients, like retinol and .

You’re increasingly forgetful.

Fumbling your words, wondering why you’re in your kitchen, and not knowing where you left your keys can be signs of early menopause. These may be caused by hormonal changes, as researchers have theorized. But then again, you’re sweaty, not sleeping well, and hammered by a splitting headache. Anyone in your situation would be just as disoriented.

Fortunately, menopausal brain fog won’t be with you forever. Experts suggest that your memory will get better as you get through menopause. In the meantime, you can “exercise” your brain by creating new memories, journaling, and spending a few minutes a day playing games such as sudoku and puzzles.

These signs of early menopause can last anywhere from a few months to 10 years. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider, friends, and family who will provide invaluable support and guidance. And remember, it’s not the end of your womanhood.