Early menopause is often misunderstood; many information sources portray a grim picture of the condition. Consequently, many menopausal women find the odds of living a high-quality life insurmountable. However, with the right information, menopausal women can live a high-quality life after understanding the condition and learning how to prevent it, and live with it.
The menopausal stage is a phase in life when a woman’s body ceases to ovulate, and subsequently, the monthly period stops. In normal situations, women reach the post-menopausal stage when they age 45 to 55. However, the average age at which the condition occurs is 51 years. In some instances, however, some women undergo the menopausal stage before they reach forty years resulting in a condition known as premature menopause/early menopause. Some cases of the condition may occur due to the surgical removal of ovaries or various medical treatments, including chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This article delves into things women rarely know about the condition.
Early Menopause Symptoms :
The condition has several symptoms, including the following:
- Changes in the menstrual cycle affecting the normal bleeding cycles lead to irregular bleeding
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Disturbance in sleep patterns
- Deterioration in sex drive
- Dryness in the vagina
- Urinary problems such as increased levels of urination frequency or incontinence
- Aches as well as pains
- Increase in mood swings
For most women, approximately 60% of the cases, the causes of the condition are unknown. However, there are certain causes of the condition, including:
- Autoimmune conditions account for roughly 10% to 30% of all cases. The autoimmune conditions include systemic lupus, Crohn’s disease, or hypothyroidism.
- Some genetic conditions also provoke the condition. Research shows that approximately 5% to 30% of victims have a female relative affected by the condition. Some genetic conditions that lead to the disease include galactosemia and Turner’s syndrome.
- Studies show that some viral infections, such as mumps, can cause the condition.
- Premature ovarian failure is also a cause of early menopause, where the ovaries cease functioning normally before a woman reaches 40 years.
Some of the lifestyles individuals adopt also have the potential to cause premature menopause. For example, smoking is known to have anti-estrogen effects that often cause the condition. Long-term smokers are known to experience the condition earlier. Vegetarian individuals are likely to experience the condition. Also, the lack of exercise and minimal exposure to the sun can lead to premature menopause.
Diagnosis of the Condition
No special tests are needed to determine the absence of menstrual periods accurately. However, when a woman shows early menopause symptoms as well as irregular periods, there is a need to test for ovarian function.
Tests can be done to initially rule out pregnancy and other reasons why one has missed menstruation. Also, the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level is determined to ascertain how close a woman is to the condition and determine the status of one’s ovaries. FSH is a hormone responsible for the production of estrogen. One indicator of the condition is when FSH levels reach above 40 mlU/ml. Further, low estradiol hormone levels can indicate susceptibility to the condition.
Transitioning to the Post-Menopausal Period
A woman must have the right knowledge to transition smoothly to the post-menopausal period. One can begin by ensuring they visit the doctor regularly for checkups. Being proactive about one’s reproductive health is an effective way to handle the condition. Additionally, it is recommended to visit a therapist to help cope with the anxiety associated with the disease.
Treatments for the Condition
While there is no cure for the condition, scientific research studies have found ways to help numerous women to cope with the condition and relieve the unpleasant symptoms. The condition should not be a deterrent to living a normal life. Innumerable women enjoy a fulfilling life despite the condition.
Hormone therapy can relieve symptoms such as hot flashes and dryness of the vagina associated with the condition. The hormone treatment can come from patches, pills, creams, and trans-dermal sprays. Some treatments can be administered via the intra-vaginal route.
Oral contraceptive pills are sometimes used to help lessen menopausal symptoms.
Researchers have found that various selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be administered to control hot flashes. The compounds control the severity of flashes in around 60% of women.
To prevent dryness in the vagina, women are advised to utilize non-hormonal gels or creams.
Having Children in the Post-Menopausal Stage
Being in the menopausal stage should not be a deterrent to having children. Some menopausal women still desire to have children but lack the knowledge of how to do so. There are various options for women who hope to expand their families, such as egg donation, adoption, or having surrogate mothers bear children.
Additionally, some fertility specialists from a fertility clinic are adept at helping women at the post-menopausal stage to bear children. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an effective procedure that allows women to have children. Doctors can advise on the impact of one’s age and health on the chance of success or failure of the IVF procedures.
In conclusion, the condition is neither a death sentence nor a life-debilitating condition. Some mitigate the symptoms with self-care and a positive mindset. Adopting healthy lifestyles to prevent the disease’s occurrence and alleviate the discomfort associated with the condition is imperative. For example, eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can improve bone health in postmenopausal. Maintaining a healthy weight relieves symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. In addition, eating fruits and vegetables and maintaining an active life can help one steer clear of diseases associated with the condition, such as heart disease and osteoporosis. Early menopause should not be a constraint to a high-quality life.