Menopause: the very word can inspire dread in a woman’s mind. A common recourse for those who fear it is to take solace in the fact that it is usually symptomatic of old age; still years and years away. For some however, it comes all too soon.
Early-onset menopause (or premature menopause as it’s termed when found in women under forty) can be a particularly heavy burden to bear. All the uncomfortable symptoms of the transition, without the benefit of being in one’s twilight years anyway. No one wants to suffer insomnia, hot flushes, water retention and muscle ache when they’re still middle-aged. For those in its grips it can feel like an affliction, not the euphemistic “change in your life” which doctors so often term it.
The reasons for premature menopause vary from person to person, with great stress placed upon the body being a common cause. Treatment for cancer, a stressful surgery or a protracted infection can all put excessive strain on the body and cause early-onset menopause. Some women are simply unlucky and suffer premature ovarian failure, with the resultant drop in hormone levels triggering the transition.
It must be emphasized here that however wishy-washy the doctor’s words of a “change in your life” may sound, he’s right. For all the discomfort and bitterness that can stem from premature menopause, there is much one can do to remedy it.
First of all a good emotional support system is vital. A caring family to lighten the load wherever they can; close friends to remind one that one’s glory days are far from over; a loving husband or partner to make one feel attractive and appreciated. All these things work to keep one from feeling burned out and filled with dread with one metaphorical foot in the grave. A genuinely supportive emotional base can truly transform the burden into less of a cross to bear and more of a new phase in one’s life.
In addition, hormone therapy, whilst somewhat controversial, has been proven effective in treating women with menopause. Working to restore some of the chemicals your body should have been producing anyway, this form of treatment can truly give sufferers of premature menopause a second lease on life, reviving sex drive, countering mood swings and easing insomnia. For those suffering from early-onset menopause, hormone therapy can be a godsend.
Ultimately, as unpleasant as it may be to find oneself in the grips of a transformation which has come years too early, it needn’t ruin one’s life. There are ways of coping; better than coping in fact, but continuing to lead a productive, vibrant life.
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