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.
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
What Are The 34 Symptoms Of Menopause
The 34 symptoms of menopause is a list of common symptoms that can occur before or during menopause. They include hot flashes, irregular periods, mood changes, and more.
Menopause refers to the stage of a females life during which their period stops. It typically occurs around the age of 4555 years . A female has entered menopause if at least 12 months have passed since their last period.
The years leading up to menopause are called the menopausal transition, or perimenopause. This stage can also come with symptoms, which may last for several years sometimes up to 14 years.
This article will look at the 34 symptoms of menopause and what may help.
Menopause and perimenopause can cause a range of symptoms, including the following.
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Treatments To Relieve Signs And Symptoms
There is no treatment that can reverse or prevent premature menopause. However, women who have reached menopause do have treatment options that can help control unpleasant symptoms.
Types of treatments for symptom relief include:
- Hormone therapy: hormone therapy is available in different forms including pills, patches, transdermal sprays, or gels or creams. Localized hormone treatments are also available for intravaginal use. HT/ET is the most effective way to control symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Because HT/ET has been associated with certain health risks , experts recommend using the lowest effective dose of hormone therapy for the shortest period of time necessary for symptom control.
- Oral contraceptive pills are a form of HT that is sometimes used to help relieve menopausal symptoms.
- Antidepressant medications: the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and related medications have been shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes in up to 60% of women.
- Non-hormonal vaginal gels, creams, and lubricants can help prevent the symptoms of vaginal dryness.
- Assisted reproductive technologies: in selected cases, pregnancy may be achieved using donor eggs in women with premature menopause.
I Finally Had The Answer To All My Years Of Weight Battles
Upon researching the best diet to combat insulin resistance, I learnt that I should avoid sugary foods, refined carbohydrates, sweet drinks and even fruit.
Instead, a good solution seemed to be adopting a ketogenic diet – which included high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate foods.
So I immediately took this new information on board and overhauled my eating habits.
I actually loved my new diet consisting of foods like lean meats, nuts, butters and oils, green vegies and berries.
And the results were amazing – and instant.
Within the first week I dropped 3.5kg!
That was a massive achievement for anyone, and particularly for me – after never even able to lose a gram throughout all my years of dieting and exercising.
Over the following months, sticking to my new way of eating, I consistently lost an average of around one kilo every week.
As my foot injuries healed, I also started walking and swimming again.
Within six months I’d lost a whopping 27kg.
I felt better than ever, my energy levels soared, and for once I felt in control of my body and life.
So inspired by my new lifestyle, I started to write and blog about my journey and share all of the amazing new recipes I’d created through ketogenic eating.
Dave was even inspired to adopt the same lifestyle, and in a short amount of time he shed 10kg, gained lots of muscle, and also felt fitter and better than ever.
Now, I’ve lost over 30kg and it’s not only my body that’s changed – my whole life has.
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Are Women Who Arent Experiencing Menopausal Symptoms Still Fertile
No matter when you experience natural menopause, your chances of getting pregnant after the age of 40 are low, says Faubion. But you can still become pregnant as youre transitioning to menopause, and you still need to use if you don’t want to conceive, she adds.
Streicher confirms, saying, and menopause are not the same thing there are plenty of women who are pumping out and menstruating and are not fertile. If youre sexually active, its important to consult with your doctor before making any decisions about birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
On the other hand, dont assume that just because you are still menstruating that you can . Women who are concerned that they may have trouble conceiving or think they may experience menopause early and still want children should discuss options such as egg freezing with their doctor, says Streicher.
How Is Premature Menopause Diagnosed
To diagnose premature menopause, your doctor will most likely perform a physical exam and draw blood to rule out other conditions, such as pregnancy and thyroid disease. They may also order a test to measure your estradiol levels. Low levels of estradiol, a form of estrogen, can indicate that your ovaries are starting to fail. When estradiol levels are below 30, it may signal that you are in menopause.
However, the most important test used to diagnose premature menopause is a blood test that measures follicle stimulating hormone . FSH causes your ovaries to produce estrogen. When your ovaries slow down their production of estrogen, your levels of FSH increase. When your FSH levels rise above 40 mIU/mL, it usually indicates that you are in menopause.
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Can Early Menopause Contribute To Other Conditions
Infertility is often the most obvious concern when you start menopause 10 or more years early. Yet, there are other health concerns.
A steady stream of estrogen to your tissues has many uses. Estrogen increases good HDL cholesterol and decreases bad LDL cholesterol. It also relaxes blood vessels and prevents bones from thinning.
Losing estrogen earlier than normal can increase your risk of:
- premature death
Discuss your concerns about these symptoms with your doctor. Because of these risks, women who enter menopause early are often prescribed hormone replacement therapy.
Calcium And Vitamin D
A combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the bone loss associated with menopause. The best sources are from calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods.
Doctors are currently reconsidering the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that healthy postmenopausal women don’t need to take these supplements. According to the USPSTF, taking daily low-dose amounts of vitamin D supplements , with or without calcium supplements , does not prevent fractures. For higher doses, the USPSTF says there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation. In addition to possible lack of benefit, these supplements are associated with certain risks, like kidney stones.
However, calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients. Supplements may be appropriate for certain people including those who do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and those who do not consume enough calcium in their diet. They are also helpful for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take supplements.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones.
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Can Early Menopause Be Reversed
Early menopause cant usually be reversed, but treatment can help delay or reduce the symptoms of menopause.
Researchers are investigating new ways to help women who are in menopause to have children. In 2016, scientists in Greece announced a new treatment that enabled them to restore menstruation and retrieve eggs from a small group of women who were in perimenopause.
This treatment made headlines as a way to reverse menopause, but little is known about how well it works.
The scientists reported treating more than 30 women, ages 46 to 49, by injecting platelet-rich plasma into their ovaries. PRP is sometimes used to promote tissue healing, but the treatment hasnt been proven to be effective for any purpose.
The scientists claimed the treatment worked for two-thirds of the women treated. However, the research has been criticized for its small size and lack of control groups. Though the research might have potential for the future, its not a realistic treatment option right now.
Risks Of Premature & Early Menopause
The risks of developing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease are higher for women with premature or early menopause than for women reaching menopause at the expected age. For this reason, it is important that you seek advice and treatment from your doctor.
According to community studies, women who go through premature or early menopause without hormone treatment have a reduced life expectancy by about two years.
The advice below is based on current expert opinion, as there are no studies on women with premature or early menopause that establish which prevention strategies are effective.
What Else Affects When A Woman Will Finally Stop Having Menstrual Periods
Researchers continue to explore a number of factors that may influence the timing of menopause.
The level of education a woman has completed is one thing that seems to correlate with menopause timing, says Faubion. Women who have more education tend to go through menopause later, she says.
A study published in January 2020 in JAMA Network Open found that pregnancy and breastfeeding may reduce the risk of early menopause.
How frequently a woman has sex has also been correlated with early menopause. A study published in January 2020 in Royal Society Open Science found that women who had sex at least once a week were less likely to go through menopause compared with women who had sex less than once a month.
Management & Treatment Of Premature & Early Menopausal Symptoms
Seeking treatment and advice is recommended to reduce your risk of earlier onset of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, as well as to treat your symptoms.
Treatment with menopause hormonal therapy or the pill is recommended to reduce severe symptoms and to reduce the long-term health risks associated with early menopause, such as osteoporosis. However, other therapies may be recommended for moderate to severe symptoms, or if there are reasons, such as breast cancer, for not being able to take MHT or the pill.
Discuss these issues with your doctor so you can make the right decision for you.
It may be possible to reduce some symptoms of menopause with the following options:
- healthy diet and eating
- cognitive behavioural therapy or hypnotherapy for hot flushes.
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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.
What It Feels Like To Go Through Early Menopause At 35
20/02/2015 4:40 pm
Hot flushes, night sweats, an aching sense of loss. Nia Fisher explains how it feels to go through early menopause
Its a chilly winter night but Im lying in bed sweating, unable to sleep. Ive thrown my duvet aside and got rid of my pyjamas. Ive spritzed myself with water and turned my fan up high, but the heat is still intense, rising from my midriff towards my head in pulsating waves.
When I first experienced this unsettling feeling, I didnt know what was going on. Yes, I knew that night sweats were a symptom of menopause, but I thought that only happened to women in their fifties. I was just 35, single and not sexually active, so when I missed a few periods I thought it was odd, but put it down to stress. As an actress appearing in a West End musical, my work schedule was intense, my dad was having treatment for cancer and I was packing to move house.
I felt more emotional than usual, but it was the constant sweating that disturbed me, so eventually I went to see my GP, who recommended blood tests to measure my oestrogen levels and something called the follicle stimulating hormone in my body. Oestrogen is the most important hormone for regulating your cycle and is essential for reproduction, while FSH helps oestrogen production, so its crucial for fertility. If your level is too high, it can be because your ovaries are struggling to produce oestrogen and the body is working overtime to correct this, indicating youre approaching menopause.
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Induced Menopause Following Prophylactic Bilateral Oophorectomy
Approximately 1 in 9 women aged 35â45 years has undergone hysterectomy, with 40 percent undergoing bilateral oophorectomy at the same time, resulting in the abrupt onset of menopause . The practice of prophylactic oophorectomy has increased over time and more than doubled between 1965 and 1990 . Meanwhile, reports now link induced menopause from bilateral oophorectomy with serious health consequences including premature death, cardiovascular and neurologic disease, and osteoporosis, in addition to menopausal symptoms, psychiatric symptoms, and impaired sexual function.
4.2.1. Mortality and cardiovascular disease
The Mayo Clinic Cohort Study of Oophorectomy and Aging involved a population-based sample of 4,780 women and reported increased all-cause mortality in women who underwent prophylactic bilateral oophorectomy before age 45 years . The increased mortality was mainly observed in women who did not take estrogen after the surgery and up until age 45 years . Cardiovascular mortality was also increased in the women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy before age 45 years and did not take estrogen .
In summary, data consistently show an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in women who undergo bilateral oophorectomy inducing premature menopause or early menopause. Estrogen replacement proximate to bilateral oophorectomy appears to be particularly important for reducing premature coronary heart disease and death in this group of women.
4.2.2. Neurologic outcomes
Getting Support For Early Menopause
Going through the menopause early can be difficult and upsetting.
Permanent early menopause affects your ability to have children.
You may need fertility treatment using donated eggs. You can use your own eggs if you had some stored.
Surrogacy and adoption may also be options for you.
Counselling and support groups may be helpful:
- The Daisy Network a support group for premature ovarian failure
- Cancer.ie provides information about menopausal symptoms after cancer treatment
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE
Page last reviewed: 8 July 2021 Next review due: 8 July 2024
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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: