Early menopause: causes, symptoms and treatment

In the natural cycle of every woman, menopause represents the disappearance of their ovarian function, therefore, the absence of menstruation. However, early menopause implies that this process begins in an age range of less than 40 years, which can trigger some diseases.

There is no specific explanation for the causes of early menopause, but there are risk factors that increase its chances, as well as a series of symptoms that, if not treated in time, can lead to health problems.

What is early menopause?

Menopause is a natural aging process for the female body. When it appears early, it involves decreased estrogen production and in some cases, infertility at an early age.

When a woman stops ovulating, her menstrual period stops. Usually, women reach this process between their 45 and 55 years of age, with 50 being the average age of menopause. This is where the stage called climacteric begins, a transition between your fertile period and old age. It is considered early menopause if the affected woman is below the average age, in her 35 years.

Stages

This process has three stages:

Pre-menopause

Period where estrogen production declines and the absence of the menstrual cycle begins.

Perimenopause

It occurs a year later with the first symptoms of menopause, it presents more advanced and noticeable clinical and endocrine effects in the woman’s body.

Postmenopause

The woman has her last menstruation and definitely enters the period of infertility.

Symptoms of early menopause

The first clear symptom is menstruation irregularity. It also happens that the periods become strong and painful, while they lose their frequency. This condition has the same symptoms as regular menopause, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Decreased libido
  • Night sweats
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Insomnia
  • Incontinence
  • Sudden weight changes
  • Vaginal swelling
  • Dry skin

For those women who suffer from premature menopause, the first symptom is pregnancy difficulty and even the total inability to get pregnant. Depending on the intensity of the symptoms and how they interfere with her routine, it is up to the patient to seek treatment.

Causes

Mainly, there are two causes that generate early menopause:

  • Naturally the ovary fails, being unable to carry out its functions
  • Hysterectomy, such as the removal of female reproductive organs

Other causes are:

  • Treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy
  • Consumption of certain drugs that alter the dose of hormones
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, arthritis, hypothyroidism, and / or Crohn’s disease
  • Genetic problems or a family history with the same problem
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Turner syndrome
  • Viral infections not treated correctly such as cytomegalovirus

Influencing factors of your routine

The woman’s lifestyle is also capable of influencing the early onset of menopause. For example:

  • Sedentary: The absence of physical activity accelerates the natural aging of the body.
  • Smoking: Tobacco influences estrogen production. If the woman has been smoking for a long time and in exaggerated amounts, she may present symptoms of early menopause.

Diagnosis

To make the correct diagnosis of menopause at an early age, the patient’s medical history should be taken into consideration, to find a family history regarding the problem. Then, proceed to a physical examination and a blood test that involves the study of hormones at different stages of the patient’s menstrual cycle. The most important test is based on the follicle-stimulating hormone, known as FSH, which is the main one in charge of activating the ovaries to produce estrogen.

In addition, evaluate other diseases of the reproductive system or possible causes of amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation. The diagnosis also evaluates levels of estradiol, a presentation of estrogen in the female body. If its levels are below average it may indicate natural ovary failure.

Treatment

For early menopause there is no way to reverse its effect. There is no treatment that will put the ovaries back into operation. Treatment is focused on those women who suffer a long postmenopausal period that triggers health problems such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

The body ages naturally and the risks of suffering pathologies that affect the person’s lifestyle are inevitable. In the case of women with a precocious menopause, a process that does not correspond accelerates and the body is exposed. Hormone replacement therapy, HRT, may be recommended for these patients.

However, HRT is not recommended in patients:

  • With cases or suspected breast or uterine cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Advanced heart disease
  • With a history of thrombosis

Some considerations

There are side effects of hormone therapies. The most common involves breast pain and recurrent nausea. Hormone disturbances in the body cause emotional disturbances and sudden mood swings. Early menopause significantly affects the emotional stability of those who suffer from it, for different reasons such as:

  • The acceptance process about the inability to have children. For those women with a different expectation of their adult life, the idea of ​​not forming a family with children of their own can alter their mood.
  • Fear of getting old quickly
  • Self-esteem problems, due to the natural changes of the body in the absence of estrogen
  • Insecurities about his sex life and the female attraction he can produce towards others

For these problems, therapeutic treatments are also necessary, with the help of a professional who has a positive impact on their emotions. The support of family members is also important and the acceptance that the body has unexpected failures but that there are ways to better take care of health during the postmenopausal period. Given that one of the causes of its appearance is bad habits, it is advisable to take care of your health with physical activities.

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