Signs You Might Be Headed Toward Early Menopause

Treatment for early and premature menopause is similar to that of natural menopause, and involves managing symptoms, addressing emotional needs, and considering the added health risks caused (via WebMD). Estrogen is protective against heart disease (via Cleveland Clinic), hence women experiencing menopause early spend a greater portion of their lifespan without its protective benefits (via WebMD). Early menopause also puts these women at greater risk for osteoporosis, colon cancer, and dental problems. And this is all in addition to pesky symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood problems.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is typically recommended to women undergoing premature menopause, unless medically contraindicated (via Cleveland Clinic). HRT may improve blood flow, reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, and reduce risk for osteoporosis (via Cleveland Clinic). However, there is some evidence to suggest that HRT can contribute to an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and possibly breast cancer. 

Because HRT also has risk factors, it is a carefully medically-weighed decision that may be recommended for only short-term usage. Other methods of treatment involve lifestyle measures that reduce heart disease risk. These include avoiding or quitting smoking, achieving an ideal body weight, exercising at least 30 minutes for three to five times a week, maintaining a plant-rich diet that is low in saturated fat and high in fiber, and medical treatment for diabetes, high blood pressure, or cholesterol if needed. Counseling and support groups can help with emotional needs (via NHS).

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