When menopause hits before the age of 40, it is considered early. According to Dr Samuel Kagali, a gynecologist at Kacyiru Police Hospital, menopause is a point in time when a woman’s menstrual period stops.
“Menopause happens because the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Once a woman has gone through menopause, she can’t get pregnant anymore,” Kagali says.
According to him, medical treatment like chemotherapy or pelvic radiation treatments for cancer, surgery to remove the ovaries, surgery to remove the uterus, chromosome defects and genetics, can cause premature menopause to women.
“In some cases, women have ovaries that still make hormones from time to time, and their menstrual periods return. Some women can even become pregnant after the diagnosis. You should see your doctor if your period stops or changes before you are 40. The cause may not be early menopause. You may have a treatable health problem, or you may be pregnant,” he advised.
Dr Alphonse Butoyi, a gynecologist in Kibagabaga hospital says that usually, menopause is confirmed when a woman hasn’t had her period for 12 months in a row.
“To determine menopause, your doctor will ask if you’ve had signs like hot flashes, irregular periods, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness. But these signs are not enough to determine that you are reaching menopause. Blood tests that can measure estrogen and related hormones could also help,” Butoyi explains.
He also says that women who want to have children but go through early menopause may feel extremely upset. He adds that if you are upset about it, it is wise to see an infertility specialist. “You can also talk to your doctor or a therapist about the issue,” Butoyi says.