(Foreword: This is our continuation of our response to Nelly of Pantukan regarding her concern on premature menopause.)

DEAR Nelly of Pantukan,

We are now at the end of our journey. So, are there other health issues that may affect women who have premature menopause?

These women who experience premature menopause experience lowered estrogen levels, just like those menopausal women who also experience lowered estrogen levels as their ovaries stop most of the production of this hormone.

This means that because their estrogen levels are low, they have to deal with hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms that may accompany menopause. You have to remember that many women undergoing premature menopause have to cope up with additional physical and emotional concerns. For instance, you might not be able to get pregnant because menopause signals the end of a woman's fertile years. You have not mentioned this. But, most women would want a child of their own. I know how heartbreaking it can be - when you are still young (you are only 29, my dear - you can probably have two or more children) and you can potentially still have a child, but, can't because you had menopause earlier than you should.

Moreover, you may also have increased risk for certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis. Other health risks associated with the loss of estrogen include increased risk for colon and ovarian cancer, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss, and cataract formation.

Here's another concern. If you compare women who go through natural menopause with those who have premature menopause, the latter would spend a greater portion of their lives without the protective benefits of their own estrogen. This puts them at an even greater risk for the menopause-related health problems that have just been mentioned.

So, how can premature menopause be treated? The symptoms and health risks can be treated the same way with those undergoing natural menopause. But, for infertility issues, you should see a reproductive specialist.

But, can this premature menopause be reversed? It's sad to say this, but NO. The thing is, once menopause has set in, it's likely to be there forever. But, I encourage you to pray. No one is more powerful in this world than Him above.

Good luck!

Dr. Fritz

(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15 year stint with her radio program, "Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz." For your questions, you may e-mail them to dokfritz@yahoo.com. If you don't wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)