5 Factors That Will Increase Your Chances Of Starting Menopause Earlier Than Other Women

Menopause, women's health, Mark P. Schumacher, MD

There’s no test that can predict when you’ll enter menopause. Since family history is a pretty good indicator, you can look at when it happened to your mother and older sisters, but it’s not failproof.

A woman enters menopause when she goes 12 months since her last period. On average, this happens to women around age 51. Yet researchers are finding that certain choices and conditions can speed up the process by as much as two years, if not more.

So, what exactly can increase your chances of early menopause? Mark P. Schumacher, MD, breaks it down.

1. Lifestyle choices

There are certain lifestyle choices that can impact the age you hit menopause. Smoking, especially, can affect your estrogen levels and bring on menopause early. Studies show that regular smokers are more likely to hit menopause as soon as two years earlier than nonsmokers.

In short, making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating right, exercising, stopping smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption can help you avoid early menopause and a host of other health issues.

2. Being underweight

Believe it or not, not weighing enough can make you more likely to enter menopause early. That’s because estrogen is stored in your fat tissue. So the less fat tissue you have, the less estrogen you will have as well.

Though possibly related to an underlying medical condition, being underweight is usually the result of an eating disorder or poor nutrition. It can also happen as a result of exercising too much. If you’re underweight, you should see medical advice to find out how you can get to a healthy weight.

3. Autoimmune diseases

Early onset menopause may also be the result of an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disease. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells. Furthermore, some autoimmune diseases cause inflammation, which can interfere with normal ovarian function.

4. Having surgery

Some surgeries can increase your chances of entering menopause early. This includes women who have had their uterus removed through a hysterectomy and those who have had an ovary removed through a single oophorectomy.

These types of surgeries can lead to lower estrogen and progesterone levels in your body.

What’s more, early menopause can occur in women who have undergone certain pelvic surgeries or surgery for cervical cancer. And women who get both ovaries removed in a bilateral oophorectomy can enter menopause immediately.

5. Stress

Studies have found that women going through economic hardships are more likely to enter menopause earlier than the average woman, and stress may be to blame. There is a connection between stress and the immune system. However, the connection has not been fully explored yet. When it comes to financial worries, there are likely many factors that come into play.

Women suffering hard times may not be eating properly or getting adequate sleep, among other factors. And researchers say the mixture of problems can take a toll on the body, including the ovaries. Eating properly and getting regular sleep can go a long way toward easing a great deal of stress.

If you’re worried about the onset of early menopause or already experiencing menopausal systems, book an appointment online or over the phone with Mark P. Schumacher, MD,  today.

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