Belmar Pharma Solutions Shares What You Need to Know
Being a woman has its joys and thrills, but life can also be quite the roller coaster ride (a total understatement, we know!). Figuring out what is best for you and your body can run the gamut from birth control to menstrual cycles to menopause — and everything in between! And for some women (and we don’t want to shock you here), experiencing premature menopause in your 30s might be part of your story. Who would’ve thought that this was a thing, right?
According to the Office on Women’s Health, going through premature menopause occurs when you experience an unexpected menstrual cycle change before the age of 40 — or earlier.
Before we move ahead and explain more, though, let’s get on the same page and review some commonly used terms because it can all sound very confusing:
- Perimenopause is the term used for the transition your body is making before menopause.
- Premature menopause occurs before the age of 40.
- Early menopause occurs between the ages of 40 and 45.
- Menopause, on average, starts around age 51, and is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles.
Let’s cover all you need to know here about premature menopause in your 30s and how it will affect your body.
How Early Can Menopause Start?
As mentioned, the average age of menopause is 51; however, some women experience perimenopausal symptoms and/or premature menopause in their 30s. One such woman with this experience is our own Belmar Pharma Solutions’ Medical Director, Dr. Angela DeRosa, DO, MBA, CPE. Dr. DeRosa’s perimenopausal symptoms actually began in her mid-twenties while attending medical school, which then moved into experiencing premature menopauseat age 35. She describes the experience in her book, “A Woman’s Hormonal Health Survival Guide: How to Prevent Your Doctor from Slowly Killing You.”
“Ironically, while I was busy learning everything I could about medicine, as well as hormones and how they worked, I began premature menopause,” Dr. DeRosa said. “By age 35, I hadn’t had a period for over a year. I had officially reached menopause.”
An important side note to understand is that women enter perimenopause, the transition your body is making before menopause occurs where the ovaries gradually make less estrogen, 10 to 15 years before menopause (another oh my gosh realization, right?). This also factors into symptoms that may occur in your 30s if your body is heading into premature menopause.
Actress Gabrielle Union-Wade has spoken openly about her experience with perimenopause and talks about her diagnosis in her memoir, You Got Anything Stronger? Union recommends (and so do we) seeing your doctor for a complete blood panel if you struggle with hormone-related issues like perimenopause.
What Causes Premature Menopause?
Premature menopause can occur due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Cancer treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy.
- Diseases that affect your hormones, such as rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease.
- Epilepsy, which may cause premature ovarian failure, leading to menopause.
- Family history or genetics.
- Smoking, which may cause menopause to start one to two years earlier than women who don’t smoke, according to one study.
What Menopause Symptoms Should You Expect?
Premature menopause in your 30s is indeed possible. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll experience all the effects right away. In fact, some women don’t experience symptoms until they reach their 40s, while others go through them earlier. Everyone’s body is unique. Either way, the following symptoms are something to be aware of:
- Dryness inside the vagina due to low levels of estrogen
- Becoming easily tired, less active and weaker than before
- Hot flashes that happen several times during the day or night
- Sleeplessness because of difficulty falling asleep due to frequent episodes of hot flashes at night
- Mood swings caused by low estrogen levels
If you experience any one of these symptoms, make sure you consult your doctor right away so they can check your hormone levels and recommend treatment options.
How is Premature Menopause Diagnosed?
Premature menopause in your 30s can be difficult to diagnose, especially if you don’t experience any of the symptoms above. However, one blood test — called the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) test — will tell your doctor about your fertility and whether or not you have entered premature menopause.
What Do you Do Next?
After diagnosis, your doctor may recommend treatment options depending on how far along into premature menopause you are. One treatment, known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), replaces estrogen levels to reduce hot flashes and other symptoms. Many women are also choosing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to treat declining hormone levels.
BHRT uses hormones derived from plant estrogens that supplement your body’s natural supply when you aren’t producing enough for optimal health on your own. Bioidentical hormones act the same as natural hormones and have the same molecular structure.
With prescribed FDA-approved ingredients in BHRT, you receive customized doses that help manage the symptoms of premature menopause from a compounding pharmacy like Belmar Pharmacy based on your body’s hormone balance (or imbalance), symptoms and possible allergies versus having to take a one-size-fits-all treatment which is how most prescriptions are provided to patients.
If you are in your 30s and all of the symptoms shared here sound familiar to you and your experience, you may indeed be going through premature menopause. We are here for you by bringing you reliable information and good news: solutions are available to help manage symptoms and improve your quality of life!
Our goal, always, is to help you feel more empowered so you can take control of your hormonal health journey. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you might have, let’s take this ride together!
Angela DeRosa, DO, MBA, CPE is the founder of the Hormonal Health Institute and serves as a paid consultant to Belmar Pharmacy. However, Dr. DeRosa is not an employee of Belmar Pharmacy and nothing herein should be construed as the promotion of Belmar’s compounded products over other hormone replacement therapies. Patients interested in hormone therapy are encouraged to speak to a medical professional about their medical options and before seeking treatment. Nothing herein should be construed as making a claim about the safety or effectiveness of compounded products, which includes compounded hormone pellet therapy. All information provided herein is based on Dr. DeRosa’s own clinical experience in her capacity as a board-certified internist.