What Is The Difference Between Premature Menopause And Early Menopause
The difference between premature menopause and early menopause is when it happens. Premature menopause occurs before a woman is 40. Early menopause is when a woman undergoes menopause before age 45.
Many of the causes of premature menopause can also be causes of early menopause. The two types of menopause also share many of the same symptoms.
Treatment For Early Or Premature Menopause
There is no treatment available to make the ovaries start working again.
Rarely, the ovaries may spontaneously start working again, for reasons unknown. According to some studies, about one in 10 women who are diagnosed with premature ovarian insufficiency get pregnant, for reasons that are not yet clear.
Women with early menopause have a long period of postmenopausal life, which means they are at increased risk of health problems such as early onset of osteoporosis and heart disease. For this reason, it is recommended that they take some form of hormone therapy until they reach the typical age of menopause . This may be the combined oestrogen and progestogen oral contraceptive pill, or menopausal hormone therapy .
Either option treats menopausal symptoms and reduces the risk of early onset of osteoporosis and heart disease.
Diagnosis Of Premature Or Early Menopause
Premature and early menopause is diagnosed using a number of tests including:
- medical history, family history and medical examination
- investigations to rule out other causes of amenorrhoea , such as pregnancy, extreme weight loss, other hormone disturbances and some diseases of the reproductive system
- investigations into other conditions associated with premature or early menopause, such as autoimmune diseases
- genetic tests to check for the presence of genetic conditions associated with premature or early menopause
- blood tests to check hormone levels.
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Hormone Treatment And Therapy
Estrogen and progesterone therapy
Hormone therapy , or menopausal hormone therapy , consists of estrogens or a combination of estrogens and progesterone . This was formerly referred to as hormone replacement therapy . Hormone therapy controls the symptoms of menopause-related to declining estrogen levels , and HT is still the most effective way to treat these symptoms. But long-term studies of women receiving combined hormone therapy with both estrogen and progesterone were halted when it was discovered that these women had an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer when compared with women who did not receive HT. These risks were most pronounced in women over 60 taking hormone therapy. Later studies of women taking estrogen therapy alone showed that estrogen was associated with an increased risk for stroke, but not for heart attack or breast cancer. Estrogen therapy alone, however, is associated with an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women who have not had their uterus surgically removed.
Hormone therapy is available in oral , transdermal forms . Transdermal hormone products are already in their active form without the need for “first pass” metabolism in the liver to be converted to an active form. Since transdermal hormone products do not have effects on the liver, this route of administration has become the preferred form for most women.
On Average Menopause Begins Around Age 52
Kathi Valeii is a freelance writer covering the intersections of health, parenting, and social justice.
Menopause occurs after a person stops having their period for 12 consecutive months. It naturally happens for many people when they are between the ages of 40 and 58. In the United States, the average age for menopause to start is 52 years.
Certain factors, like never having children and smoking, can make it more likely that menopause will occur earlier.
Before menopause, declining estrogen levels can cause people who menstruate to experience premenopausal symptoms. Menstrual changes, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are the result of hormonal shifts that are taking place during this time, which is called perimenopause.
Perimenopause can last from two to eight years. On average, people experience perimenopause for four years before menopause begins.
While many people go through menopause in their early fifties, there are a number of unique factors that determine at what age a person will start menopause, as well as what their experience will be like.
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How Is Early Menopause Treated Or Managed
Early menopause generally doesnt require treatment. However, there are treatment options available to help manage the symptoms of menopause or conditions related to it. They can help you deal with changes in your body or lifestyle more easily.
Premature menopause, however, is often treated since it occurs at such an early age. This helps support your body with the hormones that would normally be made until you reach the age of natural menopause.
The most common treatment includes hormone replacement therapy . Systemic hormone therapy can prevent many common menopausal symptoms. Or you may take vaginal hormone products, usually in low doses, to help with vaginal symptoms.
HRT does have risks though. It can increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, or breast cancer.
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits to your individual care before starting HRT. Lower doses of hormones may decrease your risk.
Q: What Causes Hot Flashes
A:;The exact causes of hot flashes are still unknown, but they are thought to be related to changes in the brains thermoregulatory center, which controls heat production and loss, and is influenced by your hormones. During perimenopause, hormones start acting like a rollercoaster, with progesterone and estrogen levels changing in wide variations. These ups and downs dont settle down until almost 10 years after menopause.
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When Does Normal Menopause Occur
Menopause is happening if youve gone a full 12 months with no menstrual period. At that point, your ovaries stop making estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones that maintain menstrual cycles and fertility. Menopause ceases naturally for most women around age 51. Menopause may be induced early for life-saving reasons such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. However, in some women, genetic conditions, autoimmune disorders or unknown reasons may bring about menopause.
The symptoms of menopause range from annoying to serious, spanning from disrupted sleep to hot flashes, dry eyes, mood changes and weight gain. But experiencing these symptoms in your 20s, 30s and early 40s might make you feel like youre growing old overnight and aging faster than your friends.
And unfortunately the signs arent always clear for premature or early menopause. Changes in mood can happen for different reasons. Maybe youve felt a hot flash, maybe not. What is a hot flash, you ask?; A hot flash is a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads over the body and is usually most intense around the face, neck and chest.;
Premature Vs Early Menopause
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, a woman has officially reached menopause once she has gone a full 12 months in a row without any bleeding or spotting.
Most women experience menopause in their early fifties. In the U.S., the average age at which a woman reaches menopause is 52.
Cases in which a womans periods come to a complete stop before the age of 40 are known as premature menopause, whereas menopause that happens between the ages of 40 to 45 is known as early menopause.
Early or premature menopause may occur due to external factors such as smoking, chemotherapy or pelvic radiation treatments for cancer, surgical removal of both ovaries or the uterus , or certain health conditions, specifically:
- Autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease and rheumatoid arthritis
- HIV and AIDS
- Chromosomal abnormalities
- Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome
In cases where no other cause can be determined, its often assumed that early menopause is caused by hereditary factors. Research has found that people who have a sister, aunt or mother who experienced early menopause are more likely to go through menopause early.
Although every woman reacts to menopause differently, symptoms may continue to last between four and five years after periods stop. Typically, symptoms begin to gradually ease up and become less frequent.
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Can It Be Prevented
Many things can contribute to early menopause, so it is difficult to pinpoint definitive ways to prevent it. There is some evidence that certain things may affect when you experience menopause, so while there is no guarantee, you can make lifestyle changes to better your chances of avoiding early menopause. Pay attention to the following:
While there is no guarantee you can prevent early menopause, you can manage symptoms by consulting a doctor that specializes in endocrinology, like a certified menopause practitioner. You can work with the doctor to come up with a plan that may include hormone replacement therapy, medication, or lifestyle changes. Hormone therapy is usually recommended for premature and early menopause to protect the bones and heart.;
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 hysterectomy 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 menopause symptoms or deciding which type of birth control to use, adds Faubion.
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Can You Get Pregnant During Perimenopause
The rate of fertility drops significantly during perimenopause.
Research shows that the chances of pregnancy during menopause are about 2%. Its because of the fluctuating estrogen levels, decreasing the bodys ability to conceive.
But theres still an opportunity to have a baby.;
Even after the first signs of perimenopause, you may opt for IVF or in-vitro fertilization of frozen eggs, a popular Assistive Reproductive Technology technique.
However, if you dont wish to get pregnant naturally during perimenopause, best to keep using birth control.;
How Can You Alleviate Perimenopausal Symptoms
Some women deal with the symptoms of perimenopause, and some women seek treatment for specific health concerns. Women with heavy bleeding, periods that last longer than seven days, spotting between periods or cycles that are less than 21 days should contact a doctor.
Typically, perimenopause is a gradual transition, and no particular test indicates what is happening to the body. Hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen treatments and antidepressants can help treat perimenopausal symptoms.
Start by identifying what’s bothering you most and then working with your doctor to address it. There are steps you can take to feel better. Lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in easing perimenopausal symptoms and improving your overall health include:
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What Treatment Is Available For Early Menopause
Once youve been diagnosed, there are plenty of different treatments available to help with both the physical and mental symptoms of early menopause.
If you have early menopause you are at higher risk of premature coronary heart disease and osteoporosis, so treatment is really important, Dr Wild explains.;
Having access to the right medication or understanding how to manage symptoms can have a life-changing impact on women during this transition in their lives, at whatever age it occurs.;
Having access to the right medication or understanding how to manage symptoms can have a life-changing impact
To help balance hormones and relieve symptoms, doctors will often prescribe the combined contraceptive pill or HRT, which can be taken in several ways, including in a tablet, or through patches and gels.
You will likely take this until you reach the age of natural menopause , Dr Wild adds.
There are also a number of self-help measures which can be used to ease menopause symptoms, including eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
If you are worried that youre going through early or premature menopause, you should always speak to your GP, Dr Wild recommends. Theyll be able to help diagnose the menopause and offer you the right treatment to ease your symptoms.
Remember GPs are there to help and no problem is too embarassing.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause:
The;initial thing;you may;observe;is that your periods;could become;irregular shorter or longer, with;heavier;or lighter bleeding,;or maybe;different;lengths of time between periods.;Obviously,;in case you are;noticing;any specific;changes in your bleeding,;it is necessary;you consult;your personal doctor;to;discard;any;medical problems.
You may;notice that;your skin;gets;drier or your waistline;turns into thicker at the expense of your hips and thighs.;The common;signs and symptoms;most people will;associate with menopause;consider;the following:
- Irregular periods
However, you might not get these symptoms or even any of the above mentioned. Many women do not have these adverse effects and some are not even aware of any other physical changes in their body. Some women might notice these signs and symptoms starting before they have any alterations with their periods and menstrual cycle.
Signs and symptoms do not last long in some women, but one should be aware of lower estrogen levels. After the menopause, some may have long-term effects on some parts of your body and they result in some health problems.
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What Tests Diagnose Menopause
Because hormone levels may fluctuate greatly in an individual woman, even from one day to the next, hormone levels are not a reliable method for diagnosing menopause. There is no single blood test that reliably predicts when a woman is going through the menopausal transition, so there is currently no proven role for blood testing to diagnose menopause. The only way to diagnose menopause is to observe the lack of menstrual periods for 12 months in a woman in the expected age range.
Perimenopause: Rocky Road To Menopause
What are the signs of perimenopause? You’re in your 40s, you wake up in a sweat at night, and your periods are erratic and often accompanied by heavy bleeding: Chances are, you’re going through perimenopause. Many women experience an array of symptoms as their hormones shift during the months or years leading up to menopause that is, the natural end of menstruation. Menopause is a point in time, but perimenopause is an extended transitional state. It’s also sometimes referred to as the menopausal transition, although technically, the transition ends 12 months earlier than perimenopause .
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The Menopause At The Age Of 48 Years
Signs of menopause at this age is a normal process. At this age, they are transferred much easier. The early development of menopause leads to a rapid aging of the body, and later increases the risk of cancer.
The time of menopause individually and depends on factors, which include:
- gynecological and chronic diseases;
The presence or absence of children also affects the development of menopause
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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What Is The Perimenopause
The period from when you begin to get menopausal signs and symptoms to when your periods ultimately end completely is called the perimenopause. Throughout the perimenopause the ovaries begin to function erratically and slowdown in work. Your periods will become irregular and can become lighter or heavier than regular periods. You might also have signs and symptoms of estrogen shortage, such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness and sweats.
The perimenopause;can last;about 4 to 8 years;on an average, until a womans;final;period.;You are;considered to be;postmenopausal once youve had 12;continuous;months of no periods.
Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms
Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used “off-label” and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .
Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed “off-label” for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:
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