Premature and early menopause: all you need to know

Menopause is a key stage in every woman’s life. When is menopause considered early? What are the signs of early menopause, and what are the causes? Find out the answers in this article.

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Bohaira El Geyoushi
Published on:Aug 14th 2022 |Updated on:May 10th 2024
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What is early menopause?

Menopause is considered premature if it occurs at the age of 40. The average normal age for menopause is around 51 and 53 years. This condition is also called Premature ovarian failure, or Premature ovarian insufficiency. It is noteworthy that the period might stop for two or three months when women are in their forties. Then they can resume, and ovulation may occur hence pregnancy might also happen. 

When does premature menopause occur?

Premature ovarian insufficiency happens at age 20 for 1 in 10000 women. At age 30 for one in 1000 women. At age 35 for 1 in 250 women. And at age 40 for 1 in 100 women. In some rare cases that happen to 1 woman in 100000, it can happen as early as age 12! This can happen due to genetic reasons or congenital anomalies in the chromosomes such as Turner Syndrome, which causes early cessation of periods or the nonexistence of periods at all.

Causes 

In addition to the above causes, there are others such as:

  • Undergoing chemotherapy, hysterectomy, or removal of the ovaries due to cancer.
  • Unknown causes.
  • A genetic anomaly.
  • Fluctuation in the milk hormone levels.
  • Thyroid or another gland dysfunction.
  • Damage to the ovaries is caused by an autoimmune disease.
  • Having some infections like Mumps.

Signs of early menopause

  • Hot flashes.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Tiredness.
  • Irritability.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Mood swings.
  • Urinary incontinence due to vaginal laxity.

Periods stopped, now what?

The first step when early menopause happens is a visit to the OBGYN. To have tests, and to follow a treatment plan if needed. Cessation of periods means that Estrogen levels are low. Estrogen is an important hormone for a woman’s health, it plays a role in bone, brain, and heart health. Estrogen helps our bodies fight conditions like osteoporosis, dementia, and heart disease among others.

Menopause also affects mood, women tend to be more irritable, and emotional. They might also feel brain fog, lack of concentration, or tiredness. Therefore consulting the OBGYN and following a hormone replacement therapy plan is essential, to ease these symptoms. Women don’t need to suffer in silence, help is available for them, they just need to ask for it.

Treatment for premature menopause

After tests are performed, the OBGYN might prescribe HRT, such as estrogen, or testosterone which plays an essential role in improving women’s sex drive at this stage. Sex drive takes a big hit due to vaginal dryness that happens during menopause. It is noteworthy that lubricants can help a great deal in solving this issue as well.

These hormones can be consumed as pills, patches, or topical ointments. The vaginal laser also helps in treating vaginal dryness, and laxity. In addition, there are now natural remedies available in pharmacies such as Phytoestrogen, Primrose oil, Red clover, And hyaluronic acid.

Finally, women going through early menopause need to get emotional and psychological support. And their families and husbands need to be educated about what they are going through to offer support and understanding ensuring this phase passes stress-free.

Check out First Gynecologist visit: When and Why?

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Bohaira El GeyoushiConsultant in Obstetrics, Gynecology and fertility

Dr. Bohaira El Geyoushi is a Consultant in Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Reproductive Medicine, and IVF. She was a consultant and Head of the Fertility Department at East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the second largest in the UK. Dr. Bohaira is a Fellow of the (RCOG) Royal College of ObStetricians & Gynaecologists and a Fellow of the (FSRH) Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare in London/UK. She was awarded a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Southampton in “Studies in Women’s Reproductive Healthcare”. Dr. Bohaira worked in many reputable medical centres in Dubai, UK & USA. She was awarded Adjunct Assistant Professor Position at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University Chicago, USA.  She is quite passionate about her work and believes in a holistic approach to women’s healthcare and fertility management. Dr. Bohaira strongly believes in the power of education and in empowering women with knowledge about their fertility so they can make informed decisions and choices about their reproductive health.

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