Referred to a gynaecologist by her physician, Sharma (name changed to protect identity) got the shock of her life when she was told that she was entering menopause. "I was shocked. I went blank. My marriage had already been planned and here I was being told that I am on the verge of entering menopause. Soon, I was put on hormonal balancing therapy to support my menstrual cycle. I was also suggested to try integrated treatment of homoeopathy and yoga, which has finally started showing results," Sharma said.
Sharma's is not an isolated case and it can be a warning bell for many urban women. Doctors are finding a drastic change in the biological clocks of women as the mean age of contracting menopause has come down to around 35 years—about 10 years early than what it was a decade ago. Gynaecologists confirmed treating women entering menopause as early as in their late 20s or early 30s.
A five-year long study conducted by Sattvam, a city-based care centre for women and children, found that 432 of the 980 women covered entered menopause in the age group of 30-35 years, while 216 were between 35-40 years age. The centre has also treated 68 women, who entered menopause in the age group of 25-30 years, while 264 women were above 40 years of age.
"What is worrying is that 42% of these women are working women. Ramifications of early menopause in some cases have been so extreme that it has adversely affected their profession and in some cases their personal life too. Most of them complained of frequent mood swings,depression, anxiety and sleeplessness. All these are capable of causing many other lifestyle diseases," said Dr Deepak Shah, a homoeopath and director, Sattvam.
Dr Gayatri Karthik, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Manipal Hospitals, said: "Entering menopause in late 20s or early 30s is not very common, but still we get about 2-3 such cases in a year. I treated a 27-year-old patient for menopause about a year ago. Urban lifestyle, increasing use of artificial reproductive techniques and stress among others can be the reasons behind this. But with science making so much of progress and techniques available for assisted reproduction women need not worry."