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Early in transition

  1. On average, the Dutch woman had her last period around her fiftieth. But there is a small group of women who have their last period much earlier. Sometimes even before their thirtieth birthday. It is obvious that this has consequences for the desire to have children. But there's more.

  1. With increasing age, the number of eggs decreases in every woman. At a certain point the number of eggs is so small that the menstrual cycle stops completely and the transition begins. But in one to two percent of women, menstruation stops before the age of 40. They are in the transition early. They usually find out when they stop taking the pill because they want children, but they don't have their period. We then speak of premature ovarian aging. The most pronounced form of premature ovarian aging is POF (Premature Ovarian Failure). This means that the woman's egg supply has been depleted prematurely.

No more eggs

  1. There are several reasons why the egg supply is depleted. For example, because both ovaries have been surgically removed. The eggs may also have been destroyed by medicines (chemotherapy) or radiation. In addition, there are hereditary disorders, such as a chromosome abnormality, that cause an early transition. The body can also produce antibodies against its own thyroid, adrenal or ovarian tissue. Their role in causing premature menopause is still unclear.

Response to hormones

  1. Another cause of an early menopause may be that the ovaries no longer respond to normal hormone stimulation from the brain, nor to stimulation with hormone preparations. Whatever the reason, the consequences of an early transition are profound.

Symptoms

  1. Hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, dry mucous membranes and worse sleep; young women end up in menopause in one fell swoop, with all its consequences. After a too early transition, the low level of estrogenic hormones also increases the risk of bone loss. The risk of cardiovascular disease also appears to be increasing. These risks are usually combated with (estrogenic) hormones, in the form of patches, tablets or injections. In addition, it is important to take sufficient exercise and to eat a healthy diet (calcium, vitamin D).

Consequences

  1. Mentally, the consequences may be even greater. You feel abandoned by your body and affected in your being a woman. The desire to have children may not be fulfilled; unless eggs have been frozen or a solution is sought in another way. The physical complaints such as hot flushes have a major impact on daily functioning and due to the risk of osteoporosis and possible cardiovascular diseases, you are confronted with a physical age that does not correspond to your age. Friends who are in the middle of the small children do not recognize themselves in your story. This can make you feel like an outsider.

More information

  1. It is therefore important to look for suitable help. UMC Utrecht conducts a lot of research into POF. If your period has stopped spontaneously before the age of 40, you can, for example, contact the UMC Utrecht or one of the other participating centers. They specialize in the care of women with ovarian aging or POF and also conduct scientific research into the causes.



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