Late or early, menopause has these effects on your health, ladies!

On World Menopause Day, an expert tells you all about the symptoms and effects of hitting menopause early or late in life.
side effects of contraceptive pills
Contraceptive pills can have side effects. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr CS Mythreyi Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 13:51 pm IST
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Menopause, peri-menopause or post-menopause are stages in a woman’s life when her monthly period stops. This indicates the end of a woman’s reproductive years.

Menopause is a bye-bye to your menstrual cycle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Peri-menopause is the first stage in this process and can start 8 to 10 years before menopause. Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It is diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Post menopause, as the name suggests, is the stage after hitting it. The age when a woman hits the phase is a very important biomarker of not only the loss of fertility but also an increased risk for various mid-life diseases and problems.

It is natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s estrogen levels decline. The average age for a woman to reach this stage is 51 in developed countries.

In India, average age of menopause it was 46-47 years, which is significantly lower than the age in some developed countries.

If a woman touches it before 40 years of age, it is known as premature menopause. Early onset happens before age 45, while premature happens to about 1% of women under age 40.

Causes of premature menopause
  • Most frequently idiopathic and reasons are not known
  • Autoimmune disorders where there is immune reactions to own body organs like thyroid and ovaries
  • Genetic causes which might be hereditary running in families
  • Infections or inflammatory conditions which can damage the ovarian tissues
  • It might be induced due to pre-menopausal bilateral oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries) or from cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Hot flashes where a person feels a sudden wave of mild or intense body heat with sweating
  • Vaginal dryness leading to difficulty in having sex and frequent urinary infections
  • Urinary urgency
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Emotional changes like mood swings, irritability and crying spells

Also Read: Can having regular sex delay the onset of menopause? Let’s find out

You can hit menopause early or late! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Various neurological problems including loss of memory
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Heart disease
  • Mood disorders
  • Osteoporosis

Given the health risks associated with early menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is routinely recommended to all women with premature menopause unless there is a compelling reason that it can’t be used. Many of the risks of hormone therapy used after natural menopause are not thought to apply to women who have it prematurely.

Though causes of premature are mostly not modifiable, its associated risks can be modified by lifestyle interventions apart from medical treatments.

These are as follows:

  • Regular visits to doctors and following their advice
  • Intake of plenty of fluids
  • Diet modifications, which include high protein and high calcium diet replete with antioxidants, supplements such as Vitamin D, and micronutrients
  • Workouts and exercises
  • Talking to partners and/or friends about emotional changes like irritability
  • Keeping cool with cotton dress, avoiding high temperatures, cessation of smoking and losing weight.
Late Menopause

If a woman is 55 or older and still hasn’t begun menopause, doctors would consider it late-onset menopause. Late menopause isn’t uncommon among obese women.

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Also Read: When should you stop using contraception after menopause?

Menopause happens to every woman… you’re not alone in your struggle to cope with it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Genetic in families with history of late menopause
  • High Body Mass Index
  • Other endocrine problems like thyroid disorder
  • Estrogen-producing ovarian cancers
  • Lower risk of osteoporosis, stroke and cardiovascular problems
  • Later age at menopause and longer reproductive lifespan may result in longer life expectancy

There’s an increased risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer in late-onset menopause. This is due to the lengthened amount of time a woman’s body is producing estrogen. Many of these diseases can be prevented by timely intervention through:

  • Lifestyle modification
  • Less fat, high protein high fiber diet rich in antioxidants
  • Regular exercises and keeping the weight in check
  • Regular mammograms, pap smears, and gynecological exams are especially important

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About the Author

Dr CS MythreyiGynaecologist and ObstetricianMadhukar Rainbow Hospital ...Read More

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