Menopause And Early Menopause, Gynecologist Explains It All
Menopause is when a woman’s menstrual cycles end.
It’s diagnosed and marked as the time when a female have gone 12 months without a menstrual period.
Although menopause is obviously a natural and biological process, there are physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and as well emotional symptoms of menopause.
These discomforts may very well lower bodily energy, disrupt the sleep cycle, or even affect emotional or mental health.
There are effectively many treatments that are available, which can be from lifestyle adjustments to undergoing hormone therapy.
Breath And Beats caught up with Dr. Ranjana Dhanu, Consultant, Gynecologist, Obstetrics. She is a surgeon specialized in laparoscopic and robotic surgery, currently practicing at prominent hospitals in Mumbai, including Hinduja Hospital, Khar.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of menses in the absence of ovarian function. This is depicted by an FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone) value of more than 20.
Absence of menses or irregular menses could be due to hormonal causes. These can be –
Lactation or end organ disease with scarring of the uterus.
How does it effect a women’s health?
The menopause, due to estrogen deficiency, has various effects on a woman’s body.
Hot flashes are triggered due to alterations in the functioning of the thermo-regulatory mechanism, wherein a woman could experience a few to several hot flashes causing extreme physical discomfort.
Estrogen deficiency with the menopause also alters the balance between the endorphins and encephalins. This leads to the reduction in endorphins and which can create a feeling of lower self-esteem, depression and mood swings.
A woman may also witness cosmetic disfigurement. Maldistribution of fats with flattening in the breasts, and centripetal obesity wherein a woman starts to gain weight on the abdomen leads to such physical change.
The effects of menopause on the urogenital system are commonly encountered. These can be in the form of recurrent urinary tract infections, vaginal dryness leading to dyspareunia (painful intercourse), and reduced libido.
Exacerbation or prolapse of the uterus, along with stress urinary incontinence is common due to lack of collagen and estrogen.
Luckily, our diet allows us a subconscious consumption of turmeric and hing (asafoetida) which is protective towards Alzheimer’s. Hence, in our population, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is not as common as seen in other countries.
There is, unfortunately, a certain segment of women who attain an early menopause as early as 30 years of age. There are, as well, some young girls who may suffer with premature ovarian failure. These girls are hence menopausal in their teens itself.
The causes of premature ovarian failure could be –
Ovarian diseases like endometriosis.
If the woman has undergone multiple surgeries for an ovarian disease.
Multiple number of infertility treatments with ovarian simulation protocol or other ovarian surgeries.
Young patients with premature menopause in their teens need to be counselled along with the family to provide them with psychological and medical treatment.
They have to be treated under strict medical supervision with Estrogen Replacement Therapy, alternate therapy in order to prevent the effects of early estrogen depletion from the body.
Fertility options include egg donation for fertility wherein taking donor eggs along with husband’s sperm and the woman can carry the pregnancy in her own womb, such as undergoing IVF or in vitro fertilization.
Only in cases where the uterus is scarred due to end organ disease, surrogacy is an option.
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