Women do not menstruate throughout their lives.
It usually stops after 45 years of age. This biological phenomenon is called menopause.
But do women stop menstruating before 45 or even 40 years of age? Isn't that a bit early?
What is an early menopause age?
Studies show about 1% of women go through menopause before 40 and about 5% of women before 45.
So is it natural?
Is it okay to start menopause so early? How is premature menopause different from early menopause? What are the signs of premature menopause? What can cause early or premature menopause? How do I diagnose it? Is there any treatment for early menopause?
A hundred more questions might have already popped up in your mind by now.
We are here to answer most of them. Keep scrolling to read more.
Imagine that your friend's daughter started menstruating at the age of 8. "Oh, that is not healthy. Please see a general practitioner." Is that what you would advise?
Well, it is worrisome when periods set in early and the same is valid when it stops early too. The process of menopause usually begins for a woman between the ages of 45 and 55.
So, we need to dig deeper to see why it happens earlier than that (early menopause) or much earlier than that (premature menopause).
When menstruation stops between the ages of 40 and 45, it is called early menopause.
But if it stops before 40 years of age, it is called premature menopause.
Medical fact: These days, premature menopause is called premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency by practitioners and science geniuses.
The signs of premature menopause, early menopause and menopause are more or less the same.
Here are the physiological changes you can expect from early or premature menopause, along with menstrual irregularities.
Early or premature menopause also comes with symptoms affecting your mental health. They can lead to
These symptoms are similar to natural menopause, the only difference being that they visit too early.
The risks that these symptoms are misinterpreted as hyperthyroidism, anaemia or PCOS and are likely to be ignored are high.
Women are born with approximately 1 million eggs in their ovaries which, by the time they reach puberty, become roughly 300,000.
These eggs are safely protected by 'sleeping bags' called follicles. One of these eggs gets released every month from the ovaries, out of these sleeping bags, once menstruation begins.
These sleeping bags or follicles produce the female sex hormone oestrogen in the ovaries.
As you grow older, the number and quality of these eggs decline and the remaining eggs start getting worn off. This decline causes a reduction in oestrogen levels and, thus, gives rise to menopausal symptoms.
There are numerous causes of early or premature menopause.
Surgeries that require the removal of ovaries or uterus are one of the leading causes of early or premature menopause in women. Chemotherapy and radiation can also cause premature or early menopause.
Some medications like alkylating agents, methotrexate, actinomycin and adriamycin can mess with your ovaries.
Genetic disorders like Turner's syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Ovarian dysgenesis etc., are some of the causes of early or premature menopause.
In autoimmune conditions, your immune system mistakenly attacks your cells. There are chances it can attack the body's hormone-producing organs as well. Ovaries can also get attacked in the process leading to the dysfunction of ovaries and, thus, premature or early menopause.
Mumps and pelvic tuberculosis are a couple of infections that can be a reason for premature or early menopause.
Smoking can hamper the smooth functioning of your ovaries and thus is a potential risk factor for early menopause.
If you can tick these off, you could be dealing with premature or early menopause!
Things to look out for in your blood test
Elevated levels of Gonadotropins (the other female sex hormones- LH and FSH) A decline in blood calcium levels and bone mineral density. There are many more tests, but it is best to consult your general practitioner before you undergo any of these tests.
Everything starts with the proper diet. Every bite and every sip matters.
|Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)||Promotes sleep, |
body strength and immunity
|Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna)||Heart-tonic|
|Cardamom (Elettaria cardamom)||Balances vata bioenergy|
|Garlic (Allium sativum)||Balances vata bioenergy|
|Guggulu (Commiphora mukul)||Nurture and strengthens |
|Sandalwood (Santalum album)||Manages hot flashes |
and Vaginal dryness
|Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)||Rich in phytoestrogens|
Yes, Ayurvedic therapies help manage your symptoms considerably well.
Ensuring regular exercise and physical activities like Yoga or Pilates can improve metabolism, strengthen joints and muscles, decrease stress, promote cardiac health and induce good sleep.
Here are some yoga poses that help immensely with managing early menopausal symptoms - both mental and physiological.
|Reclining bound angle pose||Reduces hot flashes |
|Sphinx pose||Helps in energising the body|
|Raised leg pose||Reduces anxiety |
and relaxes the body
|Seated wide angle||Tones the uterus|
Relieves lower back pain
|Mountain pose||Eases brain fog|
Of course. It is an essential aspect of holistic healing. You are the centre of your world.
Your lifestyle, in many ways, defines your entire well-being.
There is nothing desirable in attaining premature menopause; on the contrary, it curtails the opportunity to reproduce due to hormonal depletions and compromises the person's well-being at an early age.
Till date, there is no conclusive evidence that stress can directly result in early menopause. However, stress is capable of psychosomatic ailments that can weaken the body and disrupt its function in multiple aspects.
Premature menopause can be managed with proper diet, routine and lifestyle, along with interventions like hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) taking the complications into account, but not healed.
Premature and early menopause sure raises a lot of health concerns among women all over the globe. Studies show that women who experience early or premature menopause can have a high risk for osteoporosis, neurological diseases, psychiatric conditions and even heart-related issues.
They can be managed naturally through Ayurveda and therapeutic yoga.
Ayurveda and Yoga offers abundant possibilities and herbal medications to our disposal from ancient wisdom and expertise more than 5000 years old.
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