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:
- When ovaries stop making hormones.
- Surgical removal of the ovaries.
- Surgical removal of the uterus.
- Exposure to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, as these modes of treatments may damage the ovaries.
- Women with family history of premature menopause.
- Intake of certain medications.
- Certain chronic diseases.
- Women who Smoke.
Symptoms of Premature Menopause
Symptoms of premature menopause are generally same as those experienced by women undergoing natural menopause. Symptoms may include:
- Irregular periods.
- Hot flashes.
- Night Sweats.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Weight Gain.
- Bone loss.
- Frequent urination or urinary incontinence.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Decreased libido.
- Depression and mood swings.
- Difficulty in concentration.
- Memory Loss.
- Breast Changes.
- Change in Hair Growth pattern.
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:
- Hormone therapy.
- Oral contraceptive pills.
- Antidepressant medications aids in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes.
- 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…
- Heart diseases.