Is There A Link Between Stress And Early Menopause? Marla Ahlgrimm Answers

Marla AhlgrimmIt’s estimated that approximately 1% of women will experience menopause before they turn 40, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Is stress the culprit? Probably not.

Q: Can stress cause premature menopause?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There isn’t evidence to suggest that stress by itself can trigger early menopause. What we do know, however, is that the symptoms of stress and menopause often mimic each other. This can make you mistakenly believe that you are beyond your childbearing years.

Q: What are common symptoms of stress and menopause?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Anxiety, mood swings, waning libido, irritability, forgetfulness, and trouble sleeping are all common in both. However, stress can also cause a woman to miss her menstrual cycle, which is the top reason that women in their 40s who are experiencing extreme stress believe that they’ve begun menopause.

Q: Who is most at risk of early menopause?

Marla AhlgrimmMarla Ahlgrimm: There are several lifestyle factors and health conditions that can cause early menopause. These include smoking, cancer treatment, some autoimmune disorders, and surgeries. Further, women who eat a poor diet, drink often, and engage in other unhealthy lifestyle practices put themselves at risk of experiencing stress/menopause symptoms in their late 30s and 40s.

Q: What are the emotional effects of early menopause?

Marla Ahlgrimm: That depends on the woman. Some welcome “the change” with open arms. However, a woman in her late 30s or early 40s who still wishes to have children may feel as though their self-worth has taken a hit. As women delay having kids, the risk of infertility increases. In addition to not being able to have children, experiencing early menopause can make a woman feel older than she is. As a society, we tend to look at those post-menopausal women as less attractive than their child-bearing-aged counterparts. This can take a significant toll on a woman’s self-esteem as she learns to accept and transition into her “mature” years.

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