Women’s bodies begin to transition from the reproductive years at varying ages. The level of estrogen, the primary female hormone, often fluctuates during this time and can result in menopause-like symptoms: irregular periods and ovulation, fatigue, moodiness, as well as changes in libido, bone density, and cholesterol levels.
While the onset age varies, when a woman experiences a full year with no menstrual cycle her body has reached menopause. While this is often a time of positive transition, hormonal disruption (loss of estrogen) may cause tiredness, energy loss and sadness. Physical symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and weight gain.
A woman’s ovaries produce hormones including estrogen. If her ovaries are removed, post-surgical symptoms mimic menopause, even when the patient is younger than the typical menopausal age.
Testosterone is to men what estrogen is to women. Unusually low testosterone levels in men may affect sexuality, reproduction, muscle mass, mood, sleep and bone density. Low testosterone in women can show symptoms of low libido, fatigue, and slow metabolism, to name a few.
Counterintuitively, women can experience high testosterone, which may lead to a condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is quite common in younger women. PCOS can be difficult to diagnose. High Testosterone levels can present with symptoms such as aggression, moodiness and excess facial hair.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
PMDD is a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome. Those who suffer from PMDD may experience physical changes including tiredness, bloating and breast tenderness, as well as irritability, sadness, and extreme moodiness.