Menopause is a biological transition where a woman’s reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progesterone decline resulting in a natural cessation of her menstrual cycle. The process of menopause marks the end of a woman’s ability to conceive and is said to be complete when menstruation stops for one continuous year. Women usually undergo menopause from the mid-50s or later. However, some women can experience premature menopause at an earlier age. Premature menopause medically termed premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency is a condition where a woman reaches menopause before the age of 40 years.
Symptoms of premature menopause
Premature menopause is similar to the symptoms experienced by women undergoing regular menopause and may include:
- Irregular periods
- Amenorrhea or absence of periods
- Heavier or lighter periods than usual.
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Mental fogginess
- Decreased sex drive
- Urinary incontinence
Causes of premature menopause
Premature menopause is caused due to follicle depletion or follicle dysfunction resulting in loss of fertility and ovarian function which further leads to menopause. Follicle depletion or follicle dysfunction may happen due to factors such as:
- Surgery of ovaries removal
- Family history of early menopause
- Thyroid disease
- HIV or AIDS
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
Can early menopause be treated?
Depending on the cause of the early or premature onset of menopause, different treatments may be necessary. Providers advise hormone replacement therapy (HRT) due to the health hazards of early menopause unless hormone therapy is unsafe for some other reason.
Some of the lost hormones in your body are replaced by HRT. This lowers your risk of health concerns brought on by early or premature menopause and lessens the symptoms and side effects of menopause. Clinicians commonly recommend HRT up until the age of 51, the time when most people reach menopause.
3 tips to deal with premature menopause
Menopause-related hormonal changes can weaken bones and raise the risk of osteoporosis, here are some methods for coping with early menopause:
1. Maintain a healthy weight
It’s common to put on weight during menopause, as this can be largely a result of changing hormones, aging, lifestyle, and genetics. Excess body fat tends to increase the risk of developing diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure and other chronic disease. In addition, excess weight may affect menopause symptoms.
2. Exercise regularly
Exercise can help to maintain weight loss or prevent excessive weight gain. Calorie burn occurs during physical activity. More calories can be when you engage in more vigorous exercise.
3. Eat foods that are high in phytoestrogens
A naturally occurring plant-based compound that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and help to increase the phytoestrogens for balanced hormones. A few foods high in phytoestrogens are:
- Soy products and soybeans
- Exposure to sunlight
A few dietary tips to manage premature menopause:
- Increase your daily intake of vitamin D supplements. This can help to slow down the risk of bone issues.
- Include calcium in your diet by taking in foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, and green leafy vegetables. it can also help manage the postmenopausal bone loss.
- Include eggs and fish in the diet. These foods can help reduce the risk of other health issues such as cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity.
- Avoid trigger foods like caffeine, alcohol, and food containing too much spice and sugar.
- Maintaining a healthy weight is essential during menopause otherwise it can raise the risk of several health problems. So, include more fiber, protein, and healthy fats in your diet.
You can also indulge in the mind-body technique, which includes relaxation practice, yoga and meditation to manage stress levels!
It can be crucial to go over the benefits and drawbacks of hormone therapy with a medical expert. However, one should talk about their choices with a fertility specialist who can help them reach their goal of having children if they are experiencing infertility due to early or premature menopause.