Early Menopause: How to Recognize It and Handle It
When that change of life commonly associated with middle age hits early, it’s often misdiagnosed or missed all together.
Menopause, when a woman’s ovaries stop functioning and menstruation ends, usually occurs around 51 for most American women. But for 1 percent of women, menopausal symptoms may begin before they hit 40. One of the first telltale signs of early menopause or primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is missed periods and low estrogen symptoms. Recognizing early menopause is the first step.
Although some causes of POI are unavoidable (genetics, early menarche) some research shows the other causes may be prevented through diet, exercise and lifestyle. In addition, there are many ways to treat early menopause including bio-replacement hormone therapy and other natural options.
- Roots of early menopause: Interior and exterior forces that damage the ovaries or disturb estrogen production can lead to early menopause. That means diet, exercise habits (or lack thereof), infections, deficiencies, disorders and treatments, can cause POI. Some women may start menopause early simply because of genetics (so if your mom hit menopause early, it’s likely you will too). Women who had their first period before the age of 11 may also experience early menopause.
- Symptoms: Early menopause doesn’t tread softly. Most women experiencing it report intense issues including: hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, sexual issues and problems sleeping. While these ailments are all akin to standard menopause, when the condition strikes early, the symptoms can be more extreme.
- How to treat early menopause: Some women who have gone through chemotherapy or radiation may temporarily experience menopause. Their periods and therefore ovulation, usually resume a year after treatment. Some research shows that a diet rich in plant-based foods and deficient in sugar, caffeine and alcohol may help reduce symptoms or even prevent early onslaught menopause. Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping stress levels low can also help.
- When it hits: But for some, lifestyle has nothing to do with early menopause. For those women, natural hormone replacements may be the answer. Bio-replacement hormone therapy is the natural approach to estrogen replacement. These small pellets, comprised of estrogen, progestin, testosterone and other hormones, will help alleviate those debilitating menopausal symptoms.
For more information about bio-replacement hormone therapy or to schedule contact Dr. Ghozland’s office at 310.299.7143.