Menopause is a natural change that every woman will experience in later life. Unfortunately, for some, the physiological and emotional consequences of this change will occur earlier than anticipated. When this happens, women often find themselves having to deal unexpectedly with the symptoms of that change. Fortunately, several treatment options are available that can decrease the severity of those symptoms.
Early menopause can be triggered by a number of different factors. These include premature ovarian failure, when a woman’s body naturally stops releasing eggs and ceases hormone production in the ovaries.
However, viral infections such as mumps can also affect the functionality of ovaries, and underlying health conditions such as thyroid disorder, diabetes and lupus have also been linked to early menopause.
Working with your GP to identify the causes of early menopause is therefore essential to managing its symptoms and ruling out a more serious underlying condition.
The symptoms of early menopause are due to hormone fluctuations. These symptoms include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Bladder irritability
- Hot flushes
- Irregular periods
- Emotional changes
- Dry skin, eyes, or mouth
- Decreased libido
Such symptoms may also be related to other health conditions. So, again, it is vital that you seek medical advice from your GP if you are experiencing any of them.
There are three main approaches to decreasing the duration and severity of early menopause symptoms: prescribed medication, complementary therapies and lifestyle changes.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most popular medical intervention. It does carry risks, however, which your GP can explain.
Another approach entails the use of herbal remedies to alleviate symptoms. Techniques such as massage, yoga, or meditation can also help women regain control of their bodies and minds. This approach can be very effective for many women.
Of these three approaches, lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, getting sufficient sleep and exercising regularly carry the least risk. But they do demand commitment and discipline.
The first step, however, is always to speak to your GP. This will enable you to get a correct diagnosis and discuss which treatment is right for you.