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More Women Affected by Perimenopause and Menopause at Younger Ages

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies presented findings from more than 50,000 women participating in nine studies worldwide. The results showed women who have never given birth or been pregnant have twice the odds of reaching menopause before the age of 40. They’re also 30 percent more likely to begin menopause between ages 40 and 44.

In 2011, the average age for a woman to begin perimenopause—the up to 10-year-long estrogen drop that marks a decline in fertility—was 45 years old.

But last year, a study of women experiencing perimenopause symptoms showed that from a group of  6,806 women, 1,822 were under the age of 40. And when perimenopause starts at an earlier age, menopause comes right after.

Dealing with hormone imbalance and difficult menstrual cycles has been a constant battle for Misty Kaiser since her early 20s. It came as no surprise when perimenopause and symptoms of early menopause also arrived ahead of schedule.

“Even just having to deal with it is exhausting,” Mrs. Kaiser told The Epoch Times.

Before perimenopause symptoms started in her mid-to-late 30s, she struggled with menstrual challenges like irregular and painful periods. She described her normal cycle cramps as “the kind where you want to just roll up and die.”

But perimenopause threw another wrench into her daily life. She said brain fog became an issue that quickly got “worse and worse. You just can’t focus.”

Mrs. Kaiser has also dealt with a roller coaster of weight gain during the transition into perimenopause, especially around the time of her menstrual cycle. Yet her weight gain and loss in the early perimenopause phase has turned into just “packing on weight” now that she’s skipping menstrual cycles and shifting toward menopause.

Additionally, Mrs. Kaiser said she has intense mood swings and sleep disturbances since the onset of perimenopause. She said she can usually fall asleep, but can’t stay asleep. “I’ll be awake in the middle of the night, sometimes for hours.”

Overall, it’s taken a toll on her mental and physical health. Part of that is because she tries hard to keep her “hormonal hell” from affecting her family.

“You get so caught up in trying to manage these symptoms so they don’t impact everyone else, you feel like you don’t have time to give anything to anyone else,” she said.

Mrs. Kaiser largely blames this on the use of birth control, which marked the beginning of her hormone troubles.

“Going on birth control was one of the worst things I could do for my body. As soon as I started it, my body was never able to readjust,” she said.

Starting in her mid 20s, Mrs. Kaiser went on birth control pills to help regulate her menstrual cycle. After getting married and having children, she began using an IUD at age 35. Since beginning the use of hormone-altering birth control, she’s gained a total of 60 pounds that no amount of diet or exercise has been able to change. The only reason she stuck with birth control as long as she did was because doctors kept telling her it wasn’t the contraceptives.

“I was told it wasn’t the contraception. I was told it must’ve been my diet. I was told it was because I had a sedentary desk job. Because studies show the contraceptive weight gain was a myth, so it had to be a slew of other factors under my control,” Mrs. Kaiser said.

It’s part of a common narrative women have heard for decades: Hormone-based birth control helps balance hormones, end of story. For years, the pill has been used as a sort of catch-all women’s drug that was prescribed for everything from acne to regulating menstrual cycles. Yet a 2023 study revealed that hormone-based contraceptives actually disrupt hormone balance and facilitate artificial states of anovulation.

Anovulation is a type of hormone imbalance and also a common source of infertility in women. Further, research shows that premenstrual disorders—like what Mrs. Kaiser dealt with before going on the pill in her 20s—are associated with an increased risk of early menopause.

When Mrs. Kaiser stopped using the IUD at age 35, she began experiencing perimenopause symptoms almost immediately. Now, at 43, she’s had consecutive missed menstrual cycles, signaling her approach to menopause. She’s also experiencing new symptoms like severe joint pain and hot flashes.



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