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Insight into Premature Menopause

When menopause occurs before the age of 40, it is known as Premature Menopause

Menopause is a natural physiological process which is a part of a woman’s life cycle. It is a medical term used to indicate the absence of menstruation for one year. A woman can claim to have attained menopause only after it has been a year since the last period.

1. The age to attain menopause varies but it usually occurs in the late 40s or early 50s. Majority of women attain menopause between ages 45 to 55 years.

2. Menopause below the age of 40 is known as Premature menopause. Premature menopause is relatively a rare condition.

3. Women who have attained premature menopause fail to get pregnant. Attaining early menopause can be quite distressing as it affects the natural childbearing ability of a woman.

Causes of Premature Menopause

There are several causes leading to premature menopause, some of them are as follows:

  1. Women who Smoke.
  2. Certain chronic diseases.
  3. Intake of certain medications.
  4. Surgical removal of the ovaries.
  5. Surgical removal of the uterus.
  6. When ovaries stop making hormones.
  7. Women with family history of premature menopause.
  8. Exposure to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, as these modes of treatments may damage the ovaries.

Symptoms of Premature Menopause

Symptoms of premature menopause are generally same as those experienced by women undergoing natural menopause. Symptoms may include:

  1. Insomnia.
  2. Bone loss.
  3. Hot flashes.
  4. Weight Gain.
  5. Night Sweats.
  6. Memory Loss.
  7. Vaginal dryness.
  8. Breast Changes.
  9. Irregular periods.
  10. Decreased libido.
  11. Urinary tract infections.
  12. Difficulty in concentration.
  13. Depression and mood swings.
  14. Change in Hair Growth pattern.
  15. Frequent urination or urinary incontinence.

Diagnosis of Premature Menopause

1. There is no specific test to diagnose premature menopause.

2. Investigations to rule out other causes of absence of menstruation should be performed.

3. Diagnostic test such as level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) can be measured in the blood to evaluate whether a woman is approaching menopause and also to assess the functional status of the ovaries.

4. Elevated levels of FSH and low levels of estradiol, a form of estrogen are considered diagnostic of menopause.

Treatment of Premature Menopause

Premature menopause cannot be reversed or prevented by any treatment. There is no treatment available to regain the function of ovaries. Though, the following treatment can help in ameliorating the symptoms of premature menopause:

  1. Hormone therapy.
  2. Oral contraceptive pills.
  3. Antidepressant medications aids in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes.
  4. Symptoms of vaginal dryness can be prevented by Non-hormonal vaginal gels and creams.

Complications of Premature Menopause

A few complications of premature menopause are…

  • Infertility.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Heart diseases.
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