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Feature Article

Natural and premature menopause. How they affect psychological health

Christina Bryant

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Abstract

Menopause can occur naturally or prematurely, either induced or idiopathic. Adverse psychological outcomes can occur and must be dealt with sensitively.

Key Points

  • The natural menopause is a normal biological event associated with a range of physical and psychological symptoms.
  • Some women may be more vulnerable to depression during the menopausal transition.
  • Risk factors for depression include a prior history of depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, more prolonged or bothersome vasomotor menopausal symptoms, disturbed sleep and concurrent psychosocial stresses.
  • The diagnosis of premature or early menopause often comes as a shock to women, especially if they have not started or completed a family, and is associated with many adverse consequences for physical health and future fertility.
  • Many women with premature menopause feel that they are not given enough time and information to help them come to terms with the diagnosis, highlighting the importance of offering return appointments and suitable resources.

    Picture credit: © Juanmonino/iStockphoto. Model used for illustrative purposes only.

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