What Is Menopause?

Menopause is a medical condition that affects a woman’s ability to reproduce. During this time, women stop having periods and experience various body issues due to hormone fluctuations. Most women experience menopause at age 50 or older. Typically, menopause has 3 stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. At the perimenopause stage, hormone levels start to fluctuate and lead to the cessation of periods, which is menopause.

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Perimenopause vs early menopause

Perimenopause is a transitional phase that lasts for several years before the woman’s last period. Early menopause is a condition that happens before a woman is 45. Perimenopause is more of a hormonal change that makes women experience various types of menopausal symptoms. However, periods still come and go irregularly. With early menopause, the period stops, and menopausal symptoms occur simultaneously.

What is premature ovarian failure?

Premature ovarian failure, also known as primary ovarian insufficiency, is a medical condition that affects the ovaries. The follicles inside the ovaries stop working properly, which leads to irregular periods. Women with premature ovarian failure experience symptoms before the age of 40. Symptoms associated with the disease include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, painful sex, and irritability.

Early menopause vs premature ovarian failure

The main difference between early menopause and premature ovarian failure is the menstrual cycle. Women with premature ovarian failure still have periods and are still capable of conceiving a child. Women with early menopause no longer have menstrual cycles and can no longer conceive children.

Is there a cure for early menopause or premature ovarian failure?

To treat premature ovarian failure, doctors use hormone therapy. Doctors will prescribe estrogen therapy to raise lowered estrogen levels along with prescribing Vitamin D and calcium supplements. These remedies can help relieve uncomfortable symptoms and improve the menstrual cycle, but these treatments cannot fix the ovarian follicles. With early menopause, patients can also undergo hormone therapy to regulate hormone levels, but periods will not restart. The menstrual cycle has ended permanently.

How do doctors diagnose premature ovarian failure?

Doctors will perform a medical exam that includes going over the patient’s medical history and a pelvic exam. Doctors may also conduct other tests like blood tests, pregnancy tests, and hormone tests. The physician will also talk to the patient about the menstrual cycle and any exposure to radiation or toxins.

Should I talk to my doctor about early menopause and premature ovarian failure?

Yes, patients interested in learning more about either condition should speak to a healthcare provider. Despite some similarities, each condition is different, and a healthcare professional can share more in-depth information about these conditions. Schedule a consultation with a doctor to learn more.

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