Menopause signals the end of menstruation therefore, of female fertility, as ovaries stop producing eggs. Generally menopause takes place at the age of 50. Many women, though, experience early menopause in their 40s, while 8% of women worldwide go through menopause before the age of 40.
Causes of premature menopause are not easy to determine clearly. Heredity is considered to be a significant predisposition factor. Studies have shown that most women go through menopause about the same age as their mothers, even though there are exceptions to the rule. In addition, autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disorder, are all negative factors for premature ovarian failure.
Menopause is confirmed through a series of tests, including special measurements of FSH and LH hormone levels (which regulate ovulation), estradiol E2 levels (main component of the estrogen), as well as a thorough examination of ovary function.
Most common symptoms of normal or early menopause are:
headaches, fast or irregular heartbeat, insomnia, perspiration, dizziness, low sexual desire, vaginal dryness, sudden mood changes, even depression.
Does early menopause entail risks to health?
Menopause means fewer estrogens, hence, low resistance to disease.
Clinical studies have shown that women with low estrogen levels are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis and heart disease.
Due to the fact that there is no way to prevent and treat early menopause, emphasis is placed on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in order to reduce risks of osteoporosis and heart disease. In most cases the patient is administered estrogens along with progesterone.
Of course, we need to stress that hormone replacement therapy varies according to each case, and depends on the method of administration, the type of estrogen, the amount of progesterone required and other factors.