What Are The Complications And Effects Of Menopause On Chronic Medical Conditions
Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the quantity and quality of bone that causes an increased risk of fracture. The density of the bone normally begins to decrease in women during the fourth decade of life. However, that normal decline in bone density is accelerated during the menopausal transition. Consequently, both age and the hormonal changes due to the menopause transition act together to cause osteoporosis. Medications to treat osteoporosis are currently available and pose less risk than hormone therapy. Therefore, hormone therapy is not recommended for prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.
Prior to menopause, women have a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke when compared with men. Around the time of menopause, however, a women’s risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S.
Coronary heart disease rates in postmenopausal women are two to three times higher than in women of the same age who have not reached menopause. This increased risk for cardiovascular disease may be related to declining estrogen levels, but in light of other factors, medical professionals do not advise postmenopausal women to take hormone therapy simply as a preventive measure to decrease their risk of heart attack or stroke.
I Went Through The Menopause At Just 13 Years Old
A growing number of young women are being robbed of their fertility by premature menopause
As her weight almost doubled in the space of just a few months, teenager Amanda Lewis had no idea what was happening to her body.
She felt bad tempered, emotional and suffered from hot flushes, something her friends seemed to know nothing about.
And when her mum found her slumped and crying uncontrollably in her bedroom, the family knew something needed to be done.
It turned out that 13-year-old Amanda was in the throes of the menopause. And in fact, shed been going through it since she was just 11.
Amanda is thought to be the youngest person in the UK to have gone through the menopause.
When diagnosed at 13, she was put on a course of HRT for two years. Amanda, now 24, explains: Six months after Id started my periods, they suddenly stopped.;
“I really didnt think anything of it at first and just assumed they would return.
“Then, out of the blue, I started to put on a lot of weight and quickly ballooned from 8st to 15st in just a few months.
I started suffering from hot flushes and my temper became really short. I couldnt understand what was happening to me.
By the time I was 13, I was desperately miserable and Mum came home one night to find me sobbing in my bedroom.
“I was so emotional she just didnt know what to do with me. Worried sick, she dragged me to see the doctor the next day.
“Id already gone through the menopause, even though Id barely even started my periods.
Easing The Transition To Menopause
A genetic test may one day determine a persons likelihood of early menopause. For now, though, only time will tell when youll start your transition.
See your doctor for regular checkups, and be proactive about your reproductive health. Doing so can help your doctor ease the symptoms or decrease your risk factors for early menopause.
Seeing a therapist can also help you cope with any pain or anxiety you may feel during menopause.
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Home Remedies: Plant Estrogens
Isoflavones are chemical compounds found in soy and other plants that are phytoestrogens, or plant-derived estrogens. There is a perception among many women that plant estrogens are “natural” and therefore safer than HT, but medical researchers haven’t proven this scientifically. Most scientific studies have not shown a benefit of phytoestrogens in controlling hot flashes. In addition, there is concern that some phytoestrogens might act like estrogen in some tissues of the body. Therefore, many experts recommend that women who have a history of breast cancer avoid phytoestrogens.
Heart & Cardiovascular Health
Women experiencing a premature or early menopause may have an increased risk of heart disease, compared to women who reach menopause at the expected age, although this remains controversial.
A recent study suggested women with premature or early menopause may also be at greater risk of stroke. This might be because of the loss of the beneficial effects of oestrogen on the blood vessels and the lipid profile of younger women. Further understanding in this area is still needed.
There are also other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as family history, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular and heart problems. Stopping smoking, eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy body weight and doing regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease in women of all ages.
There is some evidence that suggests menopausal hormone therapy, or MHT use in women with premature or early menopause reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is recommended that you have annual monitoring of blood pressure, weight, smoking status and cholesterol and sugar levels, as well as a discussion with your doctor, to help keep a check on your risks of cardiovascular disease.
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What Other Factors Influence When Perimenopause Starts Or When A Woman Reaches Menopause
New research published online on April 12 in Menopause, the journal of NAMS, looked at the various factors that may affect the age when natural menopause occurs.
They found that there are factors that do seem predictive of when a woman will approach menopause, such as higher estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone levels, which weve known for a while,” says Streicher. Irregular menstrual bleeding and hot flashes were also indicators of earlier menopause, she adds.
One new finding uncovered in the research was around alcohol consumption. The authors observed that participants tended to increase their alcohol consumption when approaching menopause, making it a potential clue that the change was coming.
That makes sense, says Streicher. This can be a time of added stress for women, and we know that any stressful situation can cause someone to drink more, she says.
Although this study didnt find a strong association with smoking, other research has indicated that smoking is related to early onset of menopause, says Streicher.
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.
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Opinionaging Is A Woman’s Secret Power And The Data Proves It
I wouldnt know how to function outside of a big, generationally anomalous family, where I sometimes identify more with my nieces than my sisters. And Ive loved defying expectations and going my own way whether its not changing my last name, working for myself or reversing traditional gender roles when my husband became a stay-at-home dad a dozen years ago. All told, the experience of zigging where others zag has been tremendous. Ive found my greatest joys by skirting away from the expected.
Thats why Im now thinking early menopause may be my greatest opportunity yet.
First, as a writer who specializes in writing about honesty, this experience offers a chance to speak with candor about a thing so many people dont want to talk about. If the prevailing wisdom is, “Shhh, dont talk about hot flashes,” you can bet Im going to tell everyone about them. I believe we should talk openly about the things that happen with our bodies to combat shame, embarrassment and just plain disinformation.
Dealing with menopause right now also puts me squarely in my body at a time of pandemic threat, where taking care of your health is more important than ever. No symptom is going to escape my watch, and Ill do what I can to keep myself and loved ones safe but active.
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.
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Symptoms Of The Menopause
Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.
Common symptoms include:
- reduced sex drive
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
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.
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Can Early Menopause Protect Me From Other Conditions
Starting menopause early can actually protect you from other diseases. These include estrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer.
Women who enter menopause late are at greater risk of breast cancer than those who enter the transition earlier. This is because their breast tissue is exposed to estrogen for a longer time.
What Are Premature Menopause Early Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
Premature menopause and early menopause are conditions where a woman goes through menopause at an earlier age than is typically expected. Both conditions can result in women being unable to become pregnant. If there is no obvious medical or surgical cause for the premature menopause, this is called primary ovarian insufficiency . Primary ovarian insufficiency is also referred to as premature ovarian insufficiency.
The name premature ovarian failure is no longer used because women who are told they have early menopause can have intermittent ovulation, menstrual bleeding or even pregnancy after being told they have ovarian failure.
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How Young Can A Woman Be To Go Through Menopause
How young can a woman be to go through menopause
- What is the youngest a woman can go through menopause?
- This usually takes place between 44-51. However due to the increased levels of chemicals added to foods and hormones pumped into chickens and beef to plump them up and create large quantities of milk, woman do get menopause a little early,
Early Menopause At 46 Was A Surprise Now I Realize It Was Also A Gift
I spent a chunk of this year crunching the numbers, like some kind of gynecological accountant. It boiled down to this: If I got to the end of July with no period, I had probably reached menopause. If I got to the end of August, I definitely had.
A few weeks before my 46th birthday in September, I reached the 12-month milestone, which officially made me a menopausal woman.
Menopause feels like the world is giving me nutrients back. Like both my body and my soul have been thanked for their hard work and given emeritus status and a big budget to simply explore.
I dont feel wistful about this. With preteen children, my brain has long moved past childbearing years. But its surprising that my body followed, wrapping it all up far sooner than I expected. The average age for menopause is about 52, so reaching menopause between the ages of 40 and 45 is considered early menopause .
But when hot flashes found me last year, I had a feeling I was on a different course than most other women my age. My periods had been erratic since my early 40s. Other things were happening, too. My sex drive was often lackluster, my moods were more noticeable and something unsettling was happening around my midsection.
My doctor first confirmed it wasnt a problem with my thyroid. Then she tested the levels of my follicle-stimulating hormone. While not a perfect indicator, the test suggested I was well on my way through the transition.
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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.
How Is Early Menopause Diagnosed
The time leading into menopause is called perimenopause. During this time, you may have irregular periods and other symptoms that come and go.
Youre generally considered to be in menopause if you go 12 months without menstrual bleeding, and you dont have another medical condition to explain your symptoms.
Tests arent usually needed to diagnose menopause. Most women can self-diagnose menopause based on their symptoms. But if you think youre experiencing early menopause, you may want to see your doctor to be sure.
Your doctor can order hormone tests to help determine whether your symptoms are due to perimenopause or another condition. These are the most common hormones to check:
- Anti-Mullerian hormone . The
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Can You Get Pregnant While Going Through Menopause
Yes, although it is unlikely. During perimenopause, i.e. the period prior to menopause, you still ovulate and, subsequently, there are chances for you to get pregnant yet. Specialists recommend that women continue using birth control while on perimenopause until they have stopped having monthly menses for at least 12 months in a row.
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
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