Saturday, February 26, 2011

Temporary Menopause and Premature Ovarian Failure

Defining Temporary Menopause and Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)

The term temporary menopause describes a period when normal ovarian function is interrupted. The ovaries are functional, but they are unable to produce oocytes and the accompanying normal levels of hormones.

Premature ovarian failure (POF) is a term to describe a condition that occurs at an earlier age than 40 when the ovaries “fail” (cease to function), causing menstrual periods to stop. If periods never resume, then POF results in premature menopause. However, periods may stop temporarily due to lifestyle factors such as high levels of stress, excessive exercising and/or dieting, or due to medications used to treat fibroids, endometriosis, or PMS. This would be considered temporary menopause, not premature menopause, as once a woman adopts a healthier lifestyle or stops her medication, her ovaries may resume normal production of hormones.  

Compared to menopause, women who experience short-term menopause do not have time for body adjustments because when this condition occurs, there is no preliminary period. There are several women who grow anxious because this type of menopause may greatly affect their fertility. But this should not be the case. Women with temporary menopause or induced menopause just need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the condition to be able to know how to treat it.

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Symptoms of Transitory Menopause

Temporary menopause and menopause have similar signs and symptoms. The difference is that the former’s symptoms are shorter in time. Also, there are instances when one or other symptoms manifest and in some very unusual cases, none manifests.
  • The most common sign showing that you are undergoing temporary menopause is that you may not experience menstrual cycles.
  • Women who are undergoing short-term menopause may also experience mental function alterations. It may be hard for women with this condition to concentrate and their memory may be lessened.
  • Another symptom of transitory menopause is hair loss and lessening of sexual desire.
  • Hot flashes with duration of 5 to 15 minutes may also be experienced by women with temporary menopause.

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Women should consult a healthcare provider to rule out other possible causes such as thyroid disorders. Repeated blood tests (levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH) may be necessary to verify that menopause is the cause.

Causes of Temporary Menopause

There are a few reasons why women who are below 40 years old experience induced menopause. This may be a result of a wrong diet, a treatment or even social anxieties. Below is a list of a few causes of temporary menopause:
  • Anorexia. Excessive dieting may lead to the momentary stop of menstruation. This usually happens to women who are in their 20s. If you do not get the right nutrients needed by your body some of its functions shut down. This includes the occurrence of menstrual periods.
  • Chemotherapy. For induced menopause caused by chemotherapy, patterns are non-existent. Several women experience the condition right after one session while others only experience temporary menopause after a few treatments.
  • Drug Therapy. Drug therapy, such as GnRH analogues, can also result in temporary menopause.
  • Stress. Studies have proven that many health conditions are caused by stress. Most kinds of stress cannot be cured with just relaxing or taking a deep breath. If the body suffers from stress for a very long time, too much adrenalin is released and causes cessation of menstrual period.
  • Premature Ovarian Failure. This condition happens as early as the age of 27. When a woman has this condition, her ovaries stop egg production. At present, no known cure is effective enough to treat premature ovarian failure.
  • Other Reasons include grief, unspecified illnesses, bulimia, anemia, or excessive exercise.

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Treatments for Temporary Menopause

Treating temporary menopause is dependent on the cause of the condition. It is very important to pinpoint the cause of the health problem in order to know the treatment that should be done. Aside from treating the cause, you may also alleviate the symptoms with the following:

  • If you are experiencing night sweats, you should wear light and loose clothes made of breathable materials. If sleeping with someone on the bed, you may distance yourself a bit from that person to adjust the room temperature.
  • For those suffering from vaginal dryness, you may utilize lubricants especially manufactured for this purpose.
  • Do not drink products with caffeine and alcohol and go on a nutritious and healthy diet.
  • If you have mood swings, ask a doctor for a prescription medicine which may help you lessen irritability.
Just as the term implies, temporary menopause is not permanent. There is nothing to worry about if you experience this type of condition. Now that you are armed with the knowledge on this health problem, you may successfully handle the condition.

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