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Premature menopause

The average age for a healthy woman to have menopause is 50. If menopause occurs before the age 40, then it is premature menopause.The phase is just like natural menopause; expect it might be induced by some medical reasons.

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What are the symptoms of premature menopause?

The symptoms are very much similar to normal menopause.

Women will experience the following symptoms:  

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Dryness in vagina
  • Sweating
  • Altered flow (could be heavy or light) of periods and irregularity

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What leads to premature menopause?

Although premature menopause is totally not uncommon, it primarily occurs due to premature ovarian failure. Also known as ovarian insufficiency, it is characterised by loss of normal function of the ovaries, which ultimately leads to premature menopause.

Thus premature menopause from premature ovarian failure can happen due to:

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  • Autoimmune diseases like lupus, diabetes, Grave’s disease
  • Very low estrogen levels (< 30 mIU/mL)
  • Abnormal secretion of FSH (>40 mIU/mL) and LH hormones
  • Thyroid gland disorders
  • From treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hysterectomy, tubal ligation, etc.
  • Genetic diseases like Turner’s syndrome or family history  
  • Viral infections
  • Too much stress, smoking  
  • Ovarian cancer or tumour

When to see a doctor?

The symptoms of menopause are much different from that of PMS. You must see your doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms we have mentioned above along with irregularity in periods.

What are the complications of premature menopause?

Premature menopause is undoubtedly emotionally challenging for women as they become incapable of conceiving a baby at early stage i.e. infertility is inevitable.

At times, it can affect relationships due to loss of libido and mental turmoil like depression, stress, etc.

Women become prone to osteoporosis due to drop in estrogen levels  

Diagnosis of premature menopause

During your appointment your doctor will evaluate the symptoms and check your medical history or family history of premature menopause.

You need to undergo blood tests for determination of estrogen and FSH levels. Apart from that, you might also need to undergo thyroid hormone tests or any other thing that your doctor might feel necessary.

Imaging test for the ovaries might also be suggested.

Is there any treatment for premature menopause?

Premature menopause is not reversible, even with treatments. The only thing that can be done is to combat the symptoms like vaginal dryness, bladder problems, depression, etc. topical creams or medicines.

Your doctor might consider several other aspects related to your health before performing a hormonal therapy to restore normal estrogen levels.

How to cope with premature menopause?

You can take help from your doctor or a counsellor to deal with the emotional complications you must be going through.

Feel free to discuss the situation with your spouse and do not hesitate to receive his support, love and care.

Try to lead a normal life- indulge in activities, games, hobbies or anything that you love spending time with. This helps to get over mood swings, stress, depression, etc.  

If you are planning for a baby, discuss the options of assisted reproductive technologies with your doctor for a bright and happy future.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 28, 2016