If you're a woman of a certain age, you might assume all those weird symptoms you're experiencing are due to menopause. But what if they're not? What if you're too young for "the change," or what if you're a man?

Many symptoms we often associate with menopause are actually caused by other hormonal, pharmacological or physiologic issues. Check out these eight symptoms that may or may not be menopause.

1. Hot Flashes

This classic menopausal symptom might be a sign that your estrogen level is diminishing, but it might also be a sign that your thyroid gland is on the fritz. As in menopause, one of the hallmark symptoms of hyperthyroid disease is hot flashes.

2. Night Sweats

Menopausal women know what it's like to wake up at night drenched in sweat, but your night sweats could signal an adrenal disorder, an infection, a side effect of certain medications (including antidepressants and aspirin) and in some cases, an early sign of certain cancers.

3. Racing Heart

If your heart is beating at a rapid pace, it might be responding to hormonal changes caused by menopause. It also could be a sign of hyperparathyroid disease, heart disease, anxiety, diabetes, or other cardiac or adrenal disorders.

4. Mood Swings

Every woman knows her mood can fluctuate along with her hormone levels, but erratic emotions may also be of the result of anxiety, depression, diabetes, and other diseases.

5. Brain Fog

That cloudy, confused feeling that so often accompanies menopause? It's usually due to lack of estrogen, but non-menopausal reasons include fatigue, anxiety, depression, thyroid disorders, hyperparathyroid disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and even plain, old stress.

6. Fatigue

That draggy, sleepy, down-right-exhausted feeling that greets you in the morning and stays with you all day might be due to sleepless nights associated with menopausal symptoms. Another reason: a malfunctioning thyroid gland.

7. Weight Gain

While menopausal women have a harder time keeping the weight off than younger women, so do men and women with thyroid disease, diabetes, and other adrenal disorders. More often, however, weight gain is a sign that your metabolism is slowing down and you're not getting enough exercise.

8. Irregular Periods

While hit-and-miss periods are to be expected in the years leading up to menopause, they can also be associated with stress, side effects of certain medications, weight gain or loss, and other health conditions.

Never assume your weird symptoms are just par for the course when you reach your 40s and 50s. See your doctor and find out if what you're experiencing is part of "the change" or something much more serious.

Heather Weldon, MD, OB-GYN, reviewed this article.