Don't confuse ovarian failure for menopause
medcialonline-Don't confuse ovarian failure for menopause

On the surface, the symptoms of premature ovarian failure look suspiciously like early menopause, but this may not be the case.

According to obstetrician and gynaecologist Marcelle Pick, of, premature ovarian failure (POF) occurs when the ovaries slow down or stop production of mature eggs and reproductive hormones before the age of 40. It can therefore lead to irregular periods and eventually cause you to stop menstruating entirely. Pick says this leaves women with two very upsetting concerns. One is possible infertility, and the other is the onset of potentially complicated symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability, vaginal dryness, and a lowered sex drive – all of which are fairly similar to menopause.

Pick goes on to say that conventional wisdom tells us we are born with a limited amount of follicles in our ovaries that grow into eggs with the help of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and lutenising hormone (LH), and when the eggs run out, we are in menopause. One of the ways we can gauge where our bodies are in this process is to test FSH and LH levels. When they are too low for a woman younger than 40, she may have a pituitary or hypothalamic issue. When levels are consistently high, she is most likely perimenopausal or, depending on her age, POF may be a possibility. Even if a woman has one high FSH reading, one has to prepare for the possibility of a premature ovarian failure diagnosis. But this doesn't mean that there isn't any hope.

So what can you do about it?

To lower your risk, or improve your well-being if you are a POF sufferer, Pick recommends applying the basic commonsense rules for a healthy lifestyle:

Get tested. There is a real possibility of associated thyroid and adrenal insufficiencies for some women with POF. So talk to your doctor or health practitioner about getting a full thyroid panel and an adrenal antibody test.

A healthy diet supports hormonal balance. Try to include as many fresh fruits, vegetables, wild-harvested deep-water seafood, and grass-fed meats in your diet. Avoid highly processed, chemical-laden foods. Listen to your body, ask yourself: Is this really going to nourish my body and promote good health?

Get active. Your entire body health depends on it. Being fit effects your weight, strength, bones, heart, emotions, and your stress levels. There's no need to push yourself to the limit, just break into a light sweat at least once a day, and your body will be grateful.

Consider a high-quality nutritional supplement. A daily nutritional supplement is the best defence against vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are the source of so many problems.

Manage your stress. Scientists discover new evidence daily on how stress affects our physical and mental well-being. Especially with disorders like premature ovarian failure that are intimately associated with the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal axis. So find a way to rid your body of the extra tension that fits your lifestyle and personality, whether it's yoga, meditation, art lessons or dance classes.

Achieve motional stability. It's a well known fact that thoughts and feelings manifest themselves in our physical bodies – even those buried in the distant past. Women in particular have a habit of creating obsessive "self-talk loops," where they incessantly worry about things and internalize many emotions.

Remember, a positive outlook and thoughtful introspection may lead you to causes, and possibly even solutions, your conventional doctor could never imagine.

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