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Premature Menopause

Premature Menopause
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Premature menopause occurs when a woman's periods stop before the age of 45. It can happen naturally, or as a side effect of some treatments. For most women, the menopause starts between the ages of 45 and 55. If you're under 45 and have noticed your periods becoming infrequent or stopping altogether, you should speak to a GP. A GP should be able to make a diagnosis of early menopause based on your symptoms, your family history, and blood tests to check your hormone levels.

Causes of premature menopause

  1. Premature ovarian failure occurs when certain hormones, particularly oestrogen are not being made in normal levels.
  2. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can cause premature ovarian failure. This may be permanent or temporary.
  3. Surgically removing both ovaries will also bring on premature menopause.

Symptoms of premature menopause

  • Infrequent periods or periods stopping
  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Low mood or anxiety
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Problems with memory and concentration

Treatments for early menopause

  • The main treatment for early menopause is either the combined contraceptive pill or HRT to make up for your missing hormones.
  • A GP will probably recommend you take this treatment until at least the age of natural menopause
  • This is to give you some protection from osteoporosis and other conditions that can develop after the menopause.
  • If you have had certain types of cancer, such as certain types of breast cancer, you may not be able to have hormonal treatment.
  • Your GP will talk to you about other treatment options and lifestyle changes you can make to help protect your health.
  • If you're still getting symptoms, the GP can refer you to a specialist menopause centre.

Early menopause - HSE.ie
Early menopause - NHS (www.nhs.uk)