Menopause is a natural stage in the life of any woman, who usually installs after the age of 50, and is marked by the end of menstruation, so the ovaries no longer produce estrogen.
When this occurs, however, in the early 40s (around 40-45 years of age) or even much earlier (very rare), then we are talking about premature menopause, also called premature ovarian failure, a condition that affects about 5% of the female population of reproductive age.
Unfortunately, the installation of premature menopause can not be prevented. The question that arise in cases of premature menopause is: How can women at early menopause get pregnant?
Early Menopause: The Main Causes
Premature ovarian failure may have several causes, the most important ones being:
- The presence of thyroid or articular autoimmune diseases
- Infections affecting the ovaries
- Chromosomal abnormalities (Turner syndrome patients – Trisomy 13 and 18 have ovaries that do not work normally)
- Ovariectomy (removal of one or both ovaries)
- Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus)
- Chemotherapy sessions to treat cancer
- Genetic causes (according to the studies, the frequency of genetic inheritance is between 4 and 30%)
Another factor favoring the appearance of this condition is lifestyle, more specifically an unbalanced diet, stress and, last but not least, smoking.
Conditions Associated With Early Menopause
The effects of early menopause are few. These include:
Infertility – The diagnosis of premature ovarian failure is equivalent to cessation of ovarian function. They no longer release ovules ready to be fertilized, leading to infertility.
The appearance of cystitis – Bladder atrophy and vaginal dryness can lead to cystitis. It favors osteoporosis – Loss of bone mineral density is directly influenced by lowering estrogen levels.
Increasing the risk of colon cancer and cardiovascular disease – Estrogen, the feminine hormone, is designed to maintain elasticity of blood vessels and prevent fat deposits on their walls. During early menopause, estrogen is lowering and this can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Signs and Symptoms of Early Menopause
A first indication of premature ovarian failure is the irregular menstrual periods and abnormal bleeding.
Then, another common symptom (in over 89% of women suffering from early menopause) is the appearance of hot flashes, those sudden waves of heat, accompanied or not by abundant sweating.
Less estrogen is equivalent to vaginal dryness, skin disorders, sleep disturbances, decreased libido, urinary incontinence, mood shifts, decreased memory and concentration, headaches, muscle, and many more.
How to diagnose premature menopause?
Diagnosis of early menopause is confirmed by the absence of menstrual periods for a period of 12 months, but also by abnormal hormonal doses of AMH (anti-mullerian hormone), estradiol, FSH, and prolactin.
The estradiol test measures the estrogen level and can show if the ovaries begin to lose their function. Thus, a level of less than 36 may indicate that a woman has entered menopause.
Follicular stimulation hormone (FSH) concentration greater than 40 mlU shows that the woman is at menopause. Basically, if estrogen production decreases in the ovaries, the FSH concentration is high.
AMH is a hormone secreted by ovarian follicles and estimates the ovarian reserve of each woman. The lower the number of ovarian follicles, the lower the value of this hormone, which leads to infertility.
Last but not least, when there are specific symptoms, a pregnancy test is recommended to exclude the possibility of a pregnancy that can reveal such abnormalities in the levels of the hormones depicted above.
How can women at early menopause get pregnant?
When the symptoms of early menopause are present, it is important for the patient to go to the infertility specialist and begin an ovarian stimulation treatment followed by natural contact or assisted human reproductive procedures.
Ovarian stimulation aims to stimulate the ovaries to produce more follicles in order to obtain more eggs.
After monitoring the number and follicular growth, oocyte collection, and contacting the embryology lab, the ovule can be impregnant with as many sperm counts as possible to obtain a fertilized ovule.
The embryo transfer follows, and 10-15 days after it, a pregnancy test is performed and at 2-3 days a new blood test will be performed to track the HCG level. The higher the value of this is, the greater the joy of future parents.
Not all couples get a pregnancy using their own gametes. Thus, the method of fertilization with donated ovule can be used.
For women who have entered early menopause, there is hope that can fulfill their dream of becoming mothers, naturally.
There is a revolutionary technique called PRP, which consists in extracting certain cells from the patient’s blood, processing them, and injecting them into the ovaries.
After a few days, the patient will repeat the tests to see if her body responds to the treatment and if the ovulation has occurred.
Early menopause, a more and more common diagnosis in women at reproductive age, low ovarian reserve, and endometrial problems are three of the main causes of infertility in women.
If until now these diagnostics could have meant that there’s no way for women in one of these conditions to bare a baby, beside the in-vitro fertilization, now a new hope for their dream arises, the Platelet Rich Plasma procedure or, in short, the PRP.
The procedure is not complicated and is less costly than an in-vitro fertilization procedure. In the first phase, an assay is performed, blood is taken for analysis, processed in a laboratory and is injected into the ovaries (which will begin to produce again genetic material) or in the endometrium, which can thicken enough to allow embryo implantation.
Then women at early menopause can try to get pregnant naturally but there is also the option for starting the in-vitro fertilization procedures to increase their chances of getting pregnant.
This PRP technique has been successfully used since 2016 in a clinic in Greece. It is a technique used for many years in other medical specialties, such as orthopedics, dentistry, or aesthetics.
PRP is intended to rejuvenate the woman’s ovarian reserve either to get a pregnancy or to counteract the negative effects of early menopause.
The PRP procedure is already taking place in many countries around the world, while in others it is pending for being accredited by the ministries and departments of health.
Now that you know how can women at early menopause get pregnant, if facing this problem yourself but still wanting to be a mother, then don’t lose any time and ask your doctor for the most suitable for you procedure.
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