Menopause begins for most women between the ages of 45 and 55, with 51 being the average. Menopause happens when your ovaries cease to produce eggs, lowering estrogen levels and marking the end of the reproductive period of a woman’s life.
Menopause itself is entered into once twelve months have passed since a woman’s last period. The interim year is referred to as perimenopause and often brings with it a host of not so pleasant early menopause symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, menopause insomnia, mood swings and reduced libido.
Early menopause - or premature menopause - is characterised by onset before the age of 45, but can happen much earlier for some women. Signs of premature menopause can be difficult to spot, so we have put together a list of the most common symptoms to look out for. If you think you might be going through premature menopause you might want to consider taking menopause supplements or menopause vitamins to support you, rather than resorting to HRT. There are many possible causes of early menopause, some of which are also outlined below.
What causes early menopause?
There are several known contributors to early menopause, though in many cases the precise cause is difficult to pinpoint. Anything that causes damage to your ovaries or impacts estrogen production can cause menopause to start prematurely. Some of the most common causes of early menopause include:
1. Medical treatments.
Chemotherapy for cancer is a common culprit as it can damage the ovaries as a by-product of treating tumour growth. Medically necessitated removal of the ovaries will also usually lead to early menopause.
2. Genetic factors.
Your age of menopause onset is usually inherited from your mother. Finding out when she went through her menopause can usually provide a fairly accurate prediction of when to expect your own. If your mother experienced non-medically induced early menopause, the likelihood is that you will too.
3. Lifestyle factors.
Your lifestyle can have an impact on the timing of your menopause onset. For example, if you smoke or are underweight then you are at much greater risk of premature menopause.
Smoking has anti-estrogenic effects and, as estrogen is stored in fat cells, women who have lower than average BMI readings are more likely to experience early menopause than those who have greater stores of the hormone.
Research also suggests that being vegetarian or vegan, not getting enough exercise, and not being exposed to adequate sunlight may all have an impact on reducing the age at which a woman enters menopause.
4. Other factors.
Other factors such as chromosome defects (in particular Turner Syndrome and other so-called ‘Fragile X’ syndromes), autoimmune disease and epilepsy may all contribute to early menopause.
Most women suspect that they are entering early menopause when they begin having irregular periods or periods that are significantly longer or shorter than they’re used to experiencing. However, there are a number of symptoms that can show up long before changes to, and the eventual cessation of, your menstrual cycle.
What are the symptoms of early menopause?
1. Hot flushes.
Hot flushes are probably the most common and therefore recognised menopause symptom. Hot flushes can be horrendously uncomfortable and have a severe impact on your quality of life if left untreated.
Historically, women have often opted for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). HRT, however, comes packaged with its own roster of side-effects, leading to increasing numbers of women turning to natural supplements to ease their hot flushes.
LYMA’s powerful formula contains peer-reviewed patented ingredients that can help to restore hormonal balance, thereby reducing the frequency and severity of hot flushes.
Increased inflammation is one of the leading causes of extreme early menopause symptoms and reduced inflammation in the body has been linked with decreased frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women.
LYMA contains the world’s first 100% water and fat-absorbable curcumin, Hydrocurc®. Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric root but Hydrocurc™ is 250% more bioavailable than its dietary counterpart, rendering it significantly more effective in the fight against inflammation and therefore hot flushes. LYMA contains an unrivalled 600mg of Hydrocurc® and delivers an unparalleled 85% curcuminoids in every dose.
2. Night sweats.
Night sweats are the result of imbalanced hormones. LYMA contains KSM-66® Ashwagandha, an industry-leading, full spectrum form of ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to bring people’s bodies - and their hormones in particular - back into balance and harmony.
KSM-66® Ashwagandha has been shown to be superior to non-patented forms of ashwagandha when it comes to supporting balanced hormones, lowered stress, improved sleep and reduced inflammation.
3. Difficulty sleeping.
KSM-66® Ashwagandha has further benefits for women going through early menopause: it can elicit a sense of calm and wellbeing, and ease menopause insomnia.
Although menopause insomnia is difficult to cure completely, KSM-66® Ashwagandha can help to alleviate the problem and restore your ability to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
KSM-66® Ashwagandha contains triethylene glycol - the compound responsible for transmitting sleep signals from the body to the brain and back again. Elevated levels of triethylene glycol result in improved sleep.
KSM-66® Ashwagandha can further support women’s sleep-wake cycles during early menopause by boosting the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for the production of hormones that regulate the sleep cycle, as well as those that regulate reproduction and mood.
4. Low mood.
Not only can KSM-66® Ashwagandha help to put a stop to night sweats and help you sleep, it also supports the regulation of the mood-determining hormones serotonin and dopamine that can become unbalanced during early menopause, resulting in the development of low mood, anxiety and even depression.
Furthermore, LYMA’s newest wonder ingredient, affron®, is the only saffron extract to be backed by clinical evidence supporting its ability to improve mood. Six independent, peer-reviewed, randomised, double-blind studies have confirmed the mood-benefits of affron®. Saffron extract may be just as effective as traditional over-the-counter antidepressant medications at treating poor mental health and - unlike antidepressants - doesn’t come with any nasty side effects.
5. Unwanted weight gain.
One particular strain of estrogen - estradiol - decreases dramatically during perimenopause. Estradiol is responsible for blood sugar regulation and metabolism, and its decline can cause unwanted weight gain, particularly around the hips and thighs.
Increase the amount of exercise you’re doing, avoid inflammatory foods (specifically alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and processed carbohydrates, all of which can disrupt hormones and contribute to weight gain) and make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 helps to activate insulin for use in the body’s metabolic process. The majority of people in the northern hemisphere are deficient in vitamin D3. Without adequate levels of the vitamin, your body cannot effectively manage insulin. Your body’s consequent inability to regulate its blood sugar levels can result in unwanted weight gain and can even contribute to diabetes. Vita-algae D3™ has been formulated at a clinical dose of 2,000 i.u. in LYMA. LYMA’s Vita-algae D3™ is not only scientifically dosed, it is also fully patented, highly bioavailable and far superior to any other supplement on the market.
By optimising your menopause nutrition, either by hacking your diet or by upping your supplement game, can help to reduce symptoms associated with early menopause. Night sweats, menopause insomnia, and other related symptoms are manageable if you take the right supplements. Early menopause can come as an unwelcome surprise for many women, and it is our goal at LYMA to support you to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.
Menopause Report: the myths and the science
The truth about HRT and menopause pharmaceuticals
Bioidentical, body identical or artificial - what type of HRT do you need?
The psychological fallout of the menopause, and how to treat it
The truth about menopause supplements
What to eat pre and post menopause
Originally published Oct 22, 2020.