Many women who go through early menopause are concerned to discover that they may not be able to have children. Is there any hope of a natural childbirth after the early onset of menopause? Read on to find out.
What Is Early Menopause?
Menopause is a transition marking the end of a woman's menstrual cycles. During menopause, the female body begins to slow production of sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, resulting in missed or infrequent periods, as well as anovulation. It may also bring some unpleasant symptoms, such as mood swings, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and hot flashes.
In most women, menopause occurs between the ages of 40-55. When a woman begins experiencing menopausal symptoms before age 40, she is experiencing early menopause. Early menopause can be caused by genetics, medical procedures like hysterectomies, certain medications and smoking.
Can I Get Pregnant during Early Menopause?
Yes. As long as a woman is still getting her period, she may become pregnant. Even if she misses a period or her periods become infrequent, pregnancy is still possible, although not probable.
However, women who are going through early menopause should be aware that even if they are menstruating, they may experience anovulation, which occurs when a woman has her period but her body does not release an egg.
What Are My Options?
Women experiencing early menopause and wish to get pregnant should consult with a health care professional as soon as possible in order to weigh their options. One popular approach is the use of in-vitro fertilization, which involves the injection of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries.
For women looking for a more natural option, it's been suggested using phytoestrogenic herbs may increase fertility. Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds found in many herbs (e.g., dong quai) that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, helping restore natural hormone levels and increase fertility.
Women going through early menopause should seek treatment, as imbalanced hormone levels put them at an increased risk for certain diseases, like breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. Click here for more information about early menopause treatments.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hopkins, Virginia. Lee, John R. M.D. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books Inc., 1996.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Martin, Raquel. The Estrogen Alternative. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2000.