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- Premature menopause facts
- What is premature menopause?
- What causes premature menopause?
- Who is at risk for premature menopause?
- What are the symptoms of premature menopause?
- What tests are used to diagnose premature menopause?
- Is there any treatment for premature menopause?
- What are complications of premature menopause?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for premature menopause?
Quick GuideWhat to Expect During Menopause as You Age
Is there any treatment for premature menopause?
There is no treatment that can reverse or prevent premature menopause. However, women who have reached menopause do have treatment options that can help control unpleasant symptoms.
Types of treatments for symptom relief include:
- Hormone therapy: hormone therapy (HT, or estrogen therapy, ET) is available in different forms including pills, patches, transdermal sprays, or gels or creams. Localized hormone treatments are also available for intravaginal use. HT/ET is the most effective way to control symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Because HT/ET has been associated with certain health risks (heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer), experts recommend using the lowest effective dose of hormone therapy for the shortest period of time necessary for symptom control.
- Oral contraceptive pills are a form of HT that is sometimes used to help relieve menopausal symptoms.
- Antidepressant medications: the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and related medications have been shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes in up to 60% of women.
- Non-hormonal vaginal gels, creams, and lubricants can help prevent the symptoms of vaginal dryness.
- Assisted reproductive technologies: in selected cases, pregnancy may be achieved using donor eggs in women with premature menopause.
What are complications of premature menopause?
Women with premature menopause are faced with the challenges of infertility if they desire pregnancy. This can be accompanied by feelings of emotional distress and depression.
There is also an increased risk of osteoporosis in women with low estrogen levels. Women with premature menopause have a longer time period of their life of decreased estrogen production and this, in turn, increases their risk for low bone density. This risk may be offset by taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, consuming plenty of dietary calcium, and obtaining weigh-bearing exercise.
What is the outlook (prognosis) for premature menopause?
The prognosis for women with premature menopause is related to the circumstances and cause of the condition. If premature menopause occurs due to surgery or cancer treatments, the prognosis is related to the underlying reasons for these treatments. Women with premature ovarian failure for undefined causes may be at increased risk for osteoporosis, as mentioned above. These women may also be susceptible to cardiovascular disease in later in life, although this risk has not been fully studied.
Medically reviewed by Wayne Blocker, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology
American Pregnancy Association. Premature ovarian failure.
Womenshealth.gov. Early menopause (premature menopause).