Anti-aging treatments should begin sooner than later in menopausal patients, but do you know how to identify premature and early menopause? (Your patients don’t.)
Treating menopausal patients often comes with its own list of challenges but knowing the signs of early onset can be key in controlling its symptoms, including those related to estrogen-deficient skin.
Women start experiencing menopause at a median age of 51, according to the Mayo Clinic, but a recent study conducted by UK cosmetic medical clinic, Health & Aesthetics found that 34.3% of women didn’t know the difference between premature and early menopause, with 25.4% confessing they didn’t know what either of them were.
So, what are premature and early menopause and what’s this got to do with anti-aging?
“Menopausal symptoms are very similar whether or not their onset is premature, but they can be more severe and unpredictable in cases of early menopause,” according to the experts at Health & Aesthetics.
Symptoms may include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, fatigue, sleep problems, night sweats, loss of libido, mood swings and memory problems or reduced concentration.
What causes premature or early menopause is not always known and research suggests the cause can’t be identified in 60% of cases.
Possible reasons can be connected to autoimmune disease, genetic abnormality, smoking or lifestyle choices and family history, according to Health & Aesthetics.
Menopausal patients may require medical options to help control their symptoms including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and vaginal rejuvenation to help with severe dryness.
“Estrogen-deficient skin can be characterized by dryness, wrinkling, thinness and itching. Interestingly, many women don’t associate that with menopause, just with getting older,” Diane Berson, M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in NYC, told Dermatology Times in a recent article.2
“Estrogen is an essential component of skin function, health and wellness. It has been shown to improve skin elasticity, hydration and thickness. Once skin becomes estrogen deficient it undergoes histological changes responsible for decreases in collagen and IGF-1 production, among others, that are associated with the rapid proliferation of unwanted aging skin symptoms.”
Helping patients to recognize symptoms of menopause — regardless of age — is key to slowing down and effectively managing the aging process.
“The sum total of these basic effects on the skin leads to wrinkles. Postmenopausal flushing is due to profound vasodilatation in the dermal papillae. Hair growth is also influenced by the hormonal milieu and consequently hair loss has been associated with the beginning of menopause,” according to authors of a study in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.3
According to the experts at Health & Aesthetics, it’s important to remember the mental impact menopause can have on patients, especially for those experiencing premature or early onset symptoms.
Counsellor Beccy Stremes tells the resource, “I think it is important to realise that the physical symptoms are not always as obvious to others as it is to the person who is suffering from them. When you are having a hot flush any anxiety around it can make it worse.”
1. Okeke T, Anyaehie U, Ezenyeaku C. Premature menopause. Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2013;3(1):90-5.
2. Cabana, Eliza. A solution for estrogen-deficient skin. Dermatology Times. Accessed: 2/14/20. Available at: https://www.dermatologytimes.com/aesthetic/solution-estrogen-deficient-skin
3. Raine-fenning NJ, Brincat MP, Muscat-baron Y. Skin aging and menopause: implications for treatment. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2003;4(6):371-8.