What Is The Difference Between Early And Premature Menopause
Early or premature menopause happens when ovaries stop making hormones and periods stop at a younger age than usual . This can happen naturally or for a medical reason, such as when both ovaries are removed in a hysterectomy.
Early and premature menopause can have the same causes. The only difference is the age at which it happens. Menopause that happens before age 45 is called early menopause. Menopause that happens before age 40 is called premature menopause.
Women who have gone through early or premature menopause cannot get pregnant.
Is There A Risk Of Reactivated Endometriosis Transforming Into Cancer
Reactivation of endometriosis by HRT is very rare and it is impossible to say how likely it is for endometriosis to turn into cancer. However, there have been a few reported cases of it occurring. This means that while on HRT, if you develop new symptoms or old symptoms start to recur, it is important to discuss this with your healthcare professional who can start any investigations that are needed. From all the evidence it seems that there is very little risk of reactivation of endometriosis or cancer for women on HRT who have had a removal of both of their ovaries and all of their endometriosis removed. For women with some endometriosis who are under 45 or who have significant menopause symptoms the evidence suggests that the benefit of taking HRT to manage the menopause symptoms outweighs the small risk of worsening of the endometriosis or risk of cancer.
Emotional Impact Of Early Or Premature Menopause
Premature menopause can be emotionally devastating. Some of the common issues women may face include:
- grief at the prospect of not having children
- fear of ‘growing old before their time’
- concern that their partner wont find them sexually attractive anymore
- self-esteem problems.
Psychological counselling and support groups may help women come to terms with their experience of early or premature menopause.
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What Age Is Considered Early For Menopause
If you reach menopause before age 40, that is considered premature menopause, says Faubion. This occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of women, she says.
Experiencing menopause at 40 to 45 years of age is called early menopause, and that occurs in about 5 to 7 percent of the population, so its safe to say that at least 7 percent of women are going to go through menopause early or prematurely, says Faubion. Menopause at age 46 or older is considered normal, she says.
I Got My First Period Early Does That Mean Ill Go Through Menopause Early
I have many patients tell me, I know Im going to go through menopause earlier because I started my period really early, says Streicher. The reason women think that is because they think menopause occurs when you run out of eggs. This isnt going to happen were born with millions of eggs and many of those are never used. When you go through menopause is really about the aging of eggs and what causes them to age more quickly, she says.
The average age of menarche in the United States has gotten younger for a variety of reasons, but that hasnt made women go through menopause earlier, she points out.
Signs Of Early Menopause: Could You Be Experiencing Menopause In Your 30’s Or 40’s
Many women are asking themselves, “could I be going through early or premature menopause at 35, 40? In greater numbers, women have been experiencing a host of symptoms that they have always heard associated with early menopause. Symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, mild depression, fatigue, sleeplessness, hot flashes and decreased sex drive have been sending many women in their 30’s and 40’s into a panic. Before you decide its all down hill from here, there are a few things you should know.
In America, the average age of onset for “natural” menopause is around 51. Because of genetics, illness, or medical procedures, some women, however, go through menopause before the age of 40. Natural or induced menopause, that occurs before this age, is known as “premature” menopause. However, there is another, little known cause of these ailments in a lot of women. While some women do indeed begin menopause early, what a larger percentage of women are actually experiencing is the effects of low testosterone. Yes, testosterone.
So, what is the solution? There is a simple blood test that can be used to discern if testosterone levels are low. However, many physicians use old run of the mill tests that do not adequately measure hormone levels in women. Women should ask their doctors to perform the test if they have been experiencing symptoms like the ones listed here. If levels need to be adjusted, they can safely be increased by bio-identical hormones and hormone pellet theory.
Is It Early Or Premature Menopause
Early menopause is menopause that begins between the ages of 40 and 45.
Premature menopause starts even earlier, before age 40. Many doctors now refer to premature menopause as premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. These terms reduce some of the stigma for younger women going through menopause.
Early menopause is relatively uncommon. Premature menopause is even less common, with only about
- change in diet or exercise
- response to a medication or contraceptive
The low estrogen levels associated with missed periods can lead to bone loss. Early treatment can help prevent bone damage.
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What Are The Causes Of Early Menopause
Early or premature menopause can happen for two reasons: follicle depletion or follicle dysfunction.
When these occur, eggs dont mature or get released, causing a womans period to stop. These processes are considered normal when they occur later in life. If they occur early, your doctor will likely check for an underlying cause.
Follicle depletion and dysfunction can happen for a variety of reasons:
- Aging. The risks of early menopause rise after age 35.
- Family history. Being related to women who have a history of early or premature menopause may raise your risk.
- Genetic disorders. Having abnormal chromosomes or genes, as occurs in Turner syndrome or Fragile X syndrome.
- Toxins. Exposure to chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy used to treat cancer can affect onset of menopause.
- Autoimmune conditions. When the immune system mistakenly attacks the bodys hormone-producing organs, it can sometimes affect the ovaries.
- Infection. Having certain infections such as the mumps virus.
- Surgery. Procedures to remove the ovaries or uterus may cause early menopause.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and your menstrual cycle.
They may also:
- ask about your history of exposure to toxins, such as chemotherapy and radiation treatments
- conduct a physical exam
- perform a pregnancy test
Early and premature menopause can increase your chance of developing other conditions. These include:
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause
Estrogen is used by many parts of a womanâs body. As levels of estrogen decrease, you could have various symptoms. Many women experience mild symptoms that can be treated by lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine or carrying a portable fan. Some women donât require any treatment at all, but for others, symptoms can be more severe. The severity of symptoms varies greatly around the world and by race and ethnicity.
Here are the most common changes you might notice at midlife. Some may be part of aging rather than directly related to menopause.
Change in your period. This might be what you notice first. Your periods may no longer be regular. They may be shorter or last longer. You might bleed more or less than usual. These are all normal changes, but to make sure there isnât a problem, see your doctor if:
- Your periods happen very close together.
- You have heavy bleeding.
- Your periods last more than a week.
- Your periods resume after no bleeding for more than a year.
Bladder control. A loss of bladder control is called incontinence. You may have a sudden urge to urinate, or urine may leak during exercise, sneezing, or laughing. The first step in treating incontinence is to see a doctor. Bladder infections also can occur in midlife.
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How Does Ovulation Work
Before we begin to understand ovarian failure we need to understand ovulation. In brief, a female is born with about 2 million ovarian follicles. As she gets older and reaches puberty she will only have about 300,000-400,000 left. The body does not make any more. These follicles are very important because they mature to be eggs that will be released during ovulation. Now, 300,000 may sound like a lot, but not every follicle becomes a mature egg.
When your menstrual cycle begins, your estradiol levels are low. Your hypothalamus sends out a message to your pituitary gland which then sends out a follicle-stimulating hormone .
This FSH triggers a few of your follicles to develop into mature eggs. Remember only one follicle will be the lucky one to become a mature egg. As the follicles mature they send out another hormone, estrogen. Estrogen sends a message to the hypothalamus to stop producing FSH. If the follicles do not mature and produce estrogen to stop the production of FSH, FSH will continue to produce and rise to high levels.
This is why women with POF are checked for high levels of FSH. Once the levels of estrogen are high enough, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland know that there is a mature egg. A luteinizing hormone is then released this is referred to as your LH surge.
Predicting Natural Menopause: Why Does Age Matter
If theres not a lot that women can do to change when theyll experience menopause, why does predicting it even matter?
It would be helpful for every woman to know exactly when menopause will arrive. Beyond recognizing and addressing issues such as increased cardiovascular disease risk and risks related to bone health, if a woman knows her age of menopause and how long the perimenopause transition will last, it could help her make important health decisions, says Faubion.
If youre bleeding like crazy it would be helpful to know, she says.
As of now, research hasnt uncovered a way to determine when a women will go into menopause, but having that information could be useful in making decisions such as whether to have a or other invasive procedures, says Faubion. If menopause is going to be a few months or a year from now, you may choose to wait it out if it’s going to be five years from now, you might want to go ahead and have an invasive procedure, she says.
The ability to predict when menopause will occur could also help with managing or deciding which type of birth control to use, adds Faubion.
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How Is Early Menopause Is Diagnosed
No special tests are needed to determine the absence of menstrual periods, but sometimes women begin having symptoms of menopause and irregular periods. At that point, they may be tested to determine their ovarian function. For example, tests may be done to rule out pregnancy or other causes of missed menstruation, such as certain thyroid diseases. The level of follicle-stimulating hormone is often measured in the blood to determine whether a woman is nearing menopause and to ascertain the functional status of her ovaries. FSH stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen, so levels of this hormone rise when estrogen levels drop. FSH levels that are higher than 40 mIU/ml are considered diagnostic of the menopause. Levels of ovarian hormones, such as estradiol, may be also measured, as low levels are suggestive of menopause.
What Are The Effects Of Early Or Premature Menopause
But some women with early or premature menopause may also have:
- Higher risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease and osteoporosis, since women will live longer without the health benefits of higher estrogen levels. Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps to lower your risk for these health problems.
- More severe menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor or nurse about treatments to help with symptoms if they affect your daily life.
- Sadness or depression over the early loss of fertility or the change in their bodies. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression, including less energy or a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed that lasts longer than a few weeks. Your doctor or nurse can recommend specialists who can help you deal with your feelings. Your doctor or nurse can also discuss options, such as adoption or donor egg programs, if you want to have children.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Premature Menopause
Symptoms of premature menopause are often the same as those experienced by women undergoing natural menopause and may include:
- Irregular or missed periods
- Periods that are heavier or lighter than usual
- Hot flashes
These symptoms are a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen.
Along with the above symptoms, some women may experience:
- You have undergone chemotherapy or radiation
- You or a family member has an autoimmune disorder such as hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, or lupus
- You have unsuccessfully tried to become pregnant for more than a year
- Your mother or sister experienced premature menopause
General Recommendations For Ht
Current guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of severe hot flashes that do not respond to non-hormonal therapies. General recommendations include:
- HT may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
- HT should not be used in women who have started menopause many years ago.
- Women should not take HT if they have risks for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
- Currently, there is no consensus on how long HT should be used or at what age it should be discontinued. Treatment should be individualized for a woman’s specific health profile.
- HT should be used only for menopause symptom management, not for chronic disease prevention.
Before starting HT, your doctor should give you a comprehensive physical exam and take your medical history to evaluate your risks for:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
While taking HT, you should have regular mammograms and pelvic exams and Pap smears. Current guidelines recommend that if HT is needed, it should be initiated around the time of menopause. Studies indicate that the risk of serious side effects is lower for women who use HT while in their 50s. Women who start HT past the age of 60 appear to have a higher risk for side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or breast cancer. HT should be used with care in this age group.
Women who should not take hormone therapy include those with the following conditions:
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An Early First Menstrual Period May Lead To Premature Menopause
How do you know if you’re starting perimenopause?
The most telling symptom is changes in your menstrual cycle, says psychiatrist Hadine Joffe, the executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“It’s the menstrual cycle pattern that really defines this lead-up to menopause,” she says. During perimenopause, periods “might be shorter, then a long one, or then a skipped one, or then the flow might be different,” says Joffe.
There’s no blood or hormone test that can “diagnose” perimenopause. Joffe says a hormone test isn’t helpful because hormonal cycles become erratic and unpredictable during this stage.
“There’s not really one point in time when a hormone test is done that can be definitive,” she says. Even if you took several tests over time, “you might get a very different readout.”
Surprisingly, sometimes doctors aren’t prepared to help women recognize the start of this life phase. Edrie was upset at her doctors’ responses â or lack thereof. “I felt so disappointed in the medical industry. How many women has my OB/GYN seen and not recognized the symptoms of perimenopause?”
What symptoms to expect
Is There A Risk Of Worsening Endometriosis By Taking Hrt After Having An Oophorectomy Or Taking Medications To Cause Menopause
There is a theory that HRT contains just enough hormone to keep your bones healthy and to help with menopause symptoms and contains a low enough dose to not have an effect on endometriosis. This is called the estrogen threshold theory.
This means that it is rare for endometriosis to recur or get worse when on HRT but it is possible. It is more likely if there is a residual endometriosis and your HRT only contains estrogen.
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‘i Went Through Menopause At 30’
No matter what diet or exercise routines Megan tried, she constantly battled with her weight. A shocking diagnosis held the key to finally solving her body issues once and for all.
Photo: Megan Ellam before and after her weight loss journey
No matter what diet or exercise routines Megan tried, she constantly battled with her weight. A shocking diagnosis held the key to finally solving her body issues once and for all.
“For many years I struggled with my weight – which I’m sure many women can relate to!
Hovering around 100kg most my adult life. I tried everything from Weight Watchers, to fad diets, to eating “clean”, healthy vegetable and grain-based diets – you name it.
But nothing worked.
Then by the time I turned 30, I stopped menstruating.
As I’d previously twice undergone surgery for endometriosis, I thought that might’ve been the cause.
But as my weight continued to spiral out of control, I saw a few different doctors to further investigate what was going on with my body.
Soon after, I received a diagnosis I wasn’t at all prepared for.
“You’re going into early menopause,” a doctor revealed.
I was only 30-years-old!
It was a massive shock for both me and my long-term partner Dave.
But he was extremely supportive and we were both accepting of the fact we’d never have children.
Our main focus was to get me back in control of my body.
Unfortunately, my weight battles were far from over.