"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

In older women with HIV, menopause may begin earlier

June 27, 2023 – What impact does HIV have on menopause?

HIV or the human immunodeficiency virus affects the body’s immune system and may result in AIDS if left untreated. HIV is taken into account “Graying disease”because people over 50 account for nearly half of the infections within the United States.

Among women newly diagnosed with HIV, 19% were between 45 and 54 years old, and 17% were 55 years old and older, based on the CDC. Researchers are currently studying the link between HIV and menopause – and have found that the virus's impact on a girl's health might be significant.

“Studies have shown that early menopause can occur 5 years earlier in women with HIV than women without HIV,” said Monica Gandhi, MD, MPHProfessor of Medicine on the University of California, San Francisco, and Director of the HIV Clinic Ward 86 at San Francisco General Hospital/UCSF. “The reasons for this include chronic infections, lower estrogen levels, chronic stress reactions, immune deficiency, metabolic changes that can occur with HIV, such as weight changes or insulin resistance, or chronic medication use.”

There are various health consequences for girls who enter menopause earlier, including the next risk of osteoporosis because their bones are less dense.

“HIV is a well-researched risk factor for osteoporosis,” said Anna Hachfeld, MD, MSCiSenior physician within the Department of Infectious Diseases on the University Hospital of Bern in Switzerland and co-lead writer of a recently published study examines the health consequences of early menopause and HIV. “People with HIV generally have more non-HIV-related risk factors such as smoking or alcohol consumption. Like HIV, menopause is a risk factor for osteoporosis – this is probably mediated by hormonal changes.”

But there may be loads you may do to remain healthy. A brand new Canadian study found that HIV-positive women who've access to good health care reach menopause at an identical age to HIV-negative women. Here you'll find the data that you must work best along with your doctor, get relief from menopausal symptoms, and proceed to administer HIV effectively and safely.

How do older women change into infected with HIV?

HIV is transmitted to all people in the identical way – through certain bodily fluids, namely blood, vaginal fluid or semen. Mayo Clinic explains that HIV is transmitted through sexual contact and thru infected blood entering the body. HIV can also be transmitted through breastfeeding or childbirth.

According to the Office of Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesThis is because after menopause, lack of moisture within the vagina increases the danger of small cuts through which the virus might be transmitted. To protect yourself and others, it is rather essential to make use of condoms during sex and to get tested for HIV when you have no idea your status.

What are the symptoms of HIV?

HIV.gov explains that some individuals with HIV don't have any symptoms in any respect, but others can have flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Fever and chills
  • A rash
  • Night sweats
  • Sore muscles
  • Feeling drained
  • Sore throat
  • Lymph node swelling
  • Mouth ulcers

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Some symptoms of menopause contain:

  • Vaginal infections
  • Irregular bleeding, corresponding to missed periods or a change in bleeding
  • Urinary problems
  • Sexual problems
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • sleep disorders
  • Bad mood
  • depression
  • Fear
  • Problems concentrating or remembering
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Headache

Do women with HIV suffer in a different way than women going through menopause?

In short: yes.

“Studies have shown that women with HIV have higher prevalence of menopausal symptoms than women without HIV, even at a similar age. a large studyThe most common symptoms of menopause in women with HIV were joint pain, hot flashes, fatigue and sleep disturbances,” Gandhi said.

If you are HIV positive, you may also notice that your period does not change gradually – it may even stop suddenly.

“Women with HIV are three times more likely to miss their period than women without HIV,” said Anna M. Powell, MD MSAssistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and co-director of the Johns Hopkins HIV Women's Health Program at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

However, it is possible that the absence of menstruation is actually related to another health problem. A study by the University of British Columbia review found that HIV-positive women in quite a few studies reached menopause on average between 46 and 50 years of age. Among women who reached menopause early, a high percentage primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)which can also lead to missed periods. (Although POI is not a condition specifically linked to HIV, both conditions are linked to osteoporosis.)

If your period is late, it's a superb idea to ask your doctor to ascertain you for the reason behind your period. Amenorrheathe medical term for missed periods. Your doctor can biochemical confirmation of menopause This way you can address all annoying symptoms with the right treatment.

What health changes should you make to accommodate both menopause and HIV?

It is vital to deal with your overall health now. Researchers who treated HIV-positive women during menopause found that these patients often had other illnesses during menopause, which speaks to the need for women to be treated for HIV during this phase of their lives. In addition, a study by several universities Research group found that menopause is associated with immune system activation in HIV-infected women. This occurs through dysfunction of the gut microbiome and may put women at higher risk for HIV complications such as heart disease and cancer.

Make sure that you simply balanced nutrition is a fantastic approach to reduce your risk of each of those diseases. In addition, new research shows that HIV-positive women often drop some weight during menopause relatively than gaining weight. This could also be attributable to a response to antiretroviral therapy (ART)that uses standard HIV medications. It is important that you consume enough calories while taking your HIV medications.

If you are HIV positive, drinking alcohol may not be right for you – especially excessive drinking. It is important to discuss with your doctor whether you can or should drink alcohol.

A change in your medication is most likely not a cause for concern.

“Unless someone is taking an older antiretroviral regimen that contains certain protease inhibitors such as fosamprenavir or certain NNRTIs [non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors] “With HIV drugs like efavirenz, no dosage adjustment is necessary,” Powell said.

To prevent osteoporosis, ask your doctor if you can increase your calcium intake – taking a vitamin D supplement may be right for you.

You can probably take Hormone replacement therapy for a short period of time if you and your doctor think this is a good option for relieving symptoms.

“Symptoms of menopause are undertreated in women with HIV, and hormone replacement therapy is underused,” Powell said.

Make the healthy choices that are right for you – you can feel better than ever.

“Safe and effective treatments for menopause can be found,” Powell said. “Thanks to the introduction of more tolerable and protected antiretroviral therapies, HIV-infected women proceed to live well after menopause.”