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PMS and Early Menopause

PMS and Early Menopause

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes the physical and emotional symptoms that come before a woman's period. It is reportedly experienced by 85% of women, and is caused by fluctuating levels of hormones in the body during a woman's menstrual cycle. On the other hand, early menopause can also be detected by physical and emotional symptoms, which occur as a result of declining levels of the hormone estrogen in the body.

PMS and early menopause share many symptoms, including mood swings and bloating, so it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two. However, there are clear differences between the causes of PMS and early menopause.

Causes of PMS

PMS and Early Menopause

PMS is caused by the fluctuations in hormones that occur before a woman's period. Different women experience PMS to varying degrees, and it can change throughout a woman's life. Some of the intensity of a woman's PMS is dictated by genetics. PMS is also controlled by chemicals in the brain, and can be aggravated by intense stress or depression.

Causes of Early Menopause

Early menopause is caused by the ovaries no longer producing sex hormones before a woman's forties. This can happen due to genetics or an underlying medical condition. Other causes of early menopause include a total hysterectomy - or surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus - and exposure to radiation or chemotherapy.

Symptoms of PMS

Bloating, headaches, and breast tenderness are physical symptoms that generally occur before a period. However, PMS also has emotional and cognitive symptoms, such as:

PMS and Early Menopause
  • Irritability
  • Depressed mood
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Social withdrawal
  • Poor concentration

Symptoms of Early Menopause

The first and most common symptom of early menopause, which differs from the symptoms of PMS, is irregular periods. Periods can be irregular in terms of their length, amount of bleeding, time between bleeding, and changes to usual menstrual symptoms. An irregular period is anything that differs significantly from your usual menstrual cycle. If you experience changes in your menstrual cycle, it is important to talk to a doctor. Other symptoms of early menopause include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating

While both PMS and early menopause are at least partially caused by changes in hormone levels and may have some overlap in symptoms, the timing is an important difference. Symptoms of PMS form a monthly pattern. On the other hand, irregular periods, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness that doesn't occur cyclically may indicate the onset of early menopause. If your symptoms are altering the quality of your life, or you would like an effective way to treat them, consult your doctor. Click on the following link to learn more about early menopause.

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Sources:
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Retrieved December 17, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/basics/symptoms/con-20020003
  • National Health Service UK. (2013). Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Retrieved December 17, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/Pages/symptoms.aspx
  • Office on Women's Health. (2010). Early menopause (premature menopause). Retrieved December 17, 2015, from http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-premature-menopause/