A report states that in the United States, the average age of the onset of natural menopause is 51 years. But, nowadays, because of many factors like medical procedures, illness and genetics, many women are getting menopause right at the age of 40 itself. This is called as premature menopause. In addition to the general problems associated with menopause like mood swings and hot flashes, women with premature menopause will have to cope with many other mental and physical problems as well. For instance, if a woman, who wishes to postpone her childbirth, gets this problem, she will experience trouble in attaining pregnancy.
Symptoms of premature menopause:
Generally, symptoms of this condition are generally the same as women experiencing normal menopause and includes the following:
• Hot flashes, which means a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads all over the body
• Excessive or lighter periods as compared to normal ones
• Missed or irregular periods
These symptoms indicate that the ovaries are producing lesser level of estrogen hormone. In addition to these common symptoms, some women may experience the following other symptoms as well:
• Low libido
• Dryness in mouth, eyes and skin
• Changes in emotions like frequent mood swings, irritability and mild depression
• Incontinence or loss of control over bladder
• Dryness in the genital passage
Apart from these symptoms, if a woman is under 40 years and is experiencing the following, it is better to seek the help of a gyno:
• When her mother/sister has undergone premature menopause
• If she has been trying to get pregnant for more than a year now
• If she or any of her family members has auto-immune disorders like lupus, Graves’ disease or hypothyroidism
• If she has undergone a radiation or chemotherapy treatment
How is it diagnosed?
For diagnosing premature menopause, a physical examination can be conducted and a blood test might also be suggested to rule out other conditions like thyroid disease and pregnancy. A test to measure the estradiol levels may also be suggested and if this level is low, it is an indication that the ovaries are beginning to fail. If this level is less than 30, it is an indication of menopause.
The main test conducted for diagnosis is a blood test for measuring the Follicle Stimulating Hormone or FSH. This hormone is responsible for making the ovaries to produce estrogen. When there is an increase in the FSH level, it is an indication that the ovaries produce lesser estrogen. If the FSH level is more than 40 mL/mIU, it is an indication of menopause.
How is it treated?
The methods followed for treating normal menopause and its effects like mood swings and health risks are prescribed for premature menopause as well. Even though, premature menopause cannot be reversed, it is likely to be reversed. But, when it comes to women, who are looking for pregnancy, they will have to consult with their reproductive specialist to get the right remedy, so that they can become proud moms.