Early menopause: causes and useful tips
In some women, the ovaries cease to function before they are expected to. When this happens before the age of 40 years, the doctors call it “premature ovarian failure”.
This means that the woman ceases to be fertile, but also that her ovaries’ capacity to produce hormones is depleted, which can affect her well-being and health, “since female hormones have many functions other than those strictly related to reproduction: they help to maintain proper bone density, protect the cardiovascular system, stimulate lubrication and sexual urge and promote the memory and skin or body temperature balance”, explains Dr. Beatriz Álvaro, a gynaecologist and Gynaecological Endocrinology and Reproduction specialist at Dexeus Mujer.
Sometimes it is caused by radiotherapy, chemotherapy or ovarian surgery, although in most cases the cause is unknown and genetics are believed to play an important role.
Treatment is currently based on replacing the hormones that the ovaries must produce to prevent the long- and short-term consequences.
In order to prevent some of the symptoms and risks associated with the lack of the natural production of oestrogens, the best thing you can do is follow a healthy diet, including a good intake of calcium (through dairy products, dried fruits and nuts, bluefish), sunbathe for 5 minutes a day without sunscreen to promote the intake of vitamin D and do regular physical exercise to promote the maintenance of bone mass, good muscle tone and a healthy heart. Maintenance of a healthy weight is also fundamental.
If you want to have children, the only option currently available is egg donation. It may also be useful to seek psychological support, since “the interruption of ovary function is related to many emotions, and in some cases to the feeling of femininity, so having the support of a professional who can provide you with guidance at the time of the diagnosis and follow you up is also a good idea”, explains Dr. Beatriz Álvaro.