What is premature menopause?

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Menopause occurs when your body stops producing Estrogen and Progesterone. These are the primary hormones needed for female reproduction. Menopause means you will no longer have a menstrual cycle.

Women typically go through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. Sometimes it can start a younger age. Early menopause happens between the ages to 40 and 45. Premature menopause is when it begins at an age below 40. This can be as young as your late teens or early twenties. Premature menopause is very rare and only occurs in about 1% of the population.

What effects can premature menopause have on my life?

There are several symptoms of menopause, these include, mental fogginess, irregular periods, decreased sex drive, night sweats, hot flushes, vaginal dryness and moodiness. If you haven’t had your period for three months, then you should visit a gynaecologist immediately.

Most women who go through premature menopause become infertile, meaning they cannot get pregnant. It can also cause osteoporosis or bone loss. This is because of the lowered levels of Estrogen in your body and can lead some women to more easily sustain bone fractures.

Premature menopause can be a stressful and anxiety-ridden experience for some women, particularly those who still hoped to conceive. However, there is help available and strategies for coping with premature menopause.

What treatment is available?

Premature menopause can often cause stress and depression. When it does, it is advisable to seek help from a talk therapist to work through the issues. There are also often local support groups for women going through premature and early menopause.

Your gynaecologist can use hormone-replacement therapy to substitute for the hormones your body is no longer producing. Hormone replacement therapy often continues until you turn 50 to help prevent bone loss. This treatment is not suitable for all women as pre-existing conditions can complicate it, such as heart problems, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer.

Taking supplements of calcium and vitamin D can help mitigate or prevent osteoporosis.

Some women who have premature menopause can still conceive. If premature menopause has caused infertility you can consider in-vitro fertilisation or adoption.

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