Premenopause or premature menopause occurs when a woman goes through the process prior to the age of 40, states WebMD. Premature menopause can be induced by a medical professional or a naturally occurring phenomenon.
The average age that U.S. women, reach menopause is 51 years old. Typically women who experience this age-changing phenomenon earlier in life possess genetic disabilities, sickness or have undergone medical procedures, reports WebMD. To confirm that premature menopause is the appropriate diagnosis, women undergo a physical exam and provide blood work. This rules out the possibilities of the woman being pregnant or having another major medical condition that is lowering her estrogen levels.
In addition to all the standard menopause characteristics, most women who experience premature menopause also deal with extra emotional and physical issues. This is especially the case with a woman who wishes to have children, as menopause is directly linked to childbearing years concluding. When the process of menopause begins, the ovaries no longer produce as much estrogen, explains WebMD. This results in symptoms that differ largely from premenopausal years. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, decreased sex drive, mood swings and mild depression are among the most common symptoms that indicate menopause has been reached.