When the menopause arrives earlier than expected
It is possible for young women facing this stage an early age to become pregnant with the help of assisted reproduction
Six out of every hundred women suffer from what is known as early menopause. This is the same condition as the one that normally develops at the age of fifty but with an important difference: these women go through the menopause before they reach the age of forty. This condition entails important changes in their health: a hormone alteration develops which means that their ovaries stop producing eggs and their periods disappear. Despite this situation, it is perfectly possible for them to become pregnant thanks to assisted reproduction.
In most cases, the factor that causes the development of early menopause is not known. However, in others, the condition appears because there is a genetic component –a woman in their family has suffered from it- or because the woman has a disease which can favour it, such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease.
Women suffering from cancer who undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy or those who have their ovaries removed may also experience early menopause and these treatments may irreversibly harm their fertility. In such case, their fertility can be preserved by freezing their eggs before starting the treatment, thereby allowing the woman to get pregnant using her own eggs after being cured of the disease.
Each woman has different symptoms
During the menopause, a hormone alteration is produced, giving rise to symptoms such as night sweats and hot flushes. There may also be a reduction in sexual appetite, vaginal dryness and a loss of elasticity in the genitalia.
“Each woman is different and does not necessarily display all the symptoms associated with the menopause”, says Dr. Marta Trullenque, a member of Eugin’s medical team. “However, if, after the periods have disappeared, the symptoms continue and make it difficult to lead a normal life, it is advisable to visit the doctor who will determine the best treatment depending on the situation”, she adds.
Early menopause and fertility
“Women who suffer from early menopause are usually deeply affected by knowing that they will not be able to have children with their own eggs”, explains the doctor. “Nonetheless, when they discover that they can get pregnant with an egg donation and the help of another woman, they fully accept the situation and feel grateful for this opportunity”, she says.
So women with early menopause can opt for in vitro fertilisation with a donor’s eggs to become pregnant. No matter what their age, six out of every ten women who use this technique manage to conceive.
Overcoming the emotional impact
Suffering an early menopause may reduce a woman’s self-esteem. “This situation is socially accepted from the age of 45, but not before then”, says Dr. Trullenque. “Fertility is always associated with a young person, and when the menopause arrives at such an early age, these women suddenly feel older and they fear that their partners will no longer find them attractive”, she affirms.
To overcome this fear, it is just as important to undergo treatment to relieve the symptoms as it is to try and reduce its effects on one’s state of mind. “It’s important to try and accept the situation, in order to feel as emotionally stable as possible”, concludes the doctor.