There’s no way to reverse menopause as it occurs because there are no more eggs in your ovaries and your hormone levels drop. So there’s no treatment as such for early menopause, but there are medicines available to replace the hormones your body is no longer making. These medicines can decrease your risk of developing conditions you're more likely to develop once you have reached menopause. These include osteoporosis, stroke and heart attack. There may also be lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you should do to stay healthy.
Hormone replacement therapy
If you experience menopause early you may be offered hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to replace the hormones that would usually be produced by the ovaries.
Note: When it is given to women over 50 years of age, hormone therapy is called menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). For women who are under 50, similar hormone therapy can be called hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is because the treatment is replacing hormones that would be produced if you were still having periods.
It's generally recommended that HRT is continued until at least the age of natural menopause (around 51 on average), to give you some protection from osteoporosis and other conditions that can develop after menopause. It can also help you manage menopausal symptoms. HRT options include:
- oestrogen tablets, patches, gels and topical vaginal treatments – if you've had a hysterectomy
- oestrogen plus progesterone – if you haven't had a hysterectomy
- combined oral contraceptive pill as a replacement hormone – if you have no significant risk factors (such as a clotting tendency, past clots or if you are a current smoker).
If you have had certain types of cancer, (eg, some types of breast cancer) you may not be able to have hormonal treatment. If this is the case, your healthcare provider will talk to you about other treatment options and lifestyle changes you can make to help protect your health.
As early menopause can affect your bone density, it can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and your risk of breaking a bone if you have a fall. A bone density scan, known as DEXA scan, may be done to check your bone density and see if any treatment is necessary. Read more about diagnosing and treating osteoporosis. Whether your current bone density is good or not, it's still important for everyone to have plenty of calcium, vitamin D (from safe time in sunlight, food or a supplement) and keep doing weight-bearing exercise to keep your bones strong. It’s especially import as we age, and even more so if you have had early menopause.
Other lifestyle changes (eg, eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables as well as quitting smoking) can help to decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do, or follow the links in the ‘learn more’ section to read about these conditions and healthy eating and exercise.