If the ovary is not functioning following the time when the girl reaches adolescence, as may occur when there is a necessity for surgical removal or when cysts form in the ovary and destroy the ovarian tissue, a number of significant conditions may appear. One of the most important is development of irregularity of the usual rhythmic flow, sometimes culminating in complete absence of the flow. With this there is a tendency to put on too much weight, to grow extra hair and to develop a pasty skin.
Occasionally the menopause comes on in a woman long before she is forty-eight years of age. This is definitely abnormal. Such an occurrence should lead to an immediate medical examination because it may be associated with social and psychological difficulties. The doctor who is called to study such a patient can bring relief in many instances by prescribing the necessary hormones, according to the condition in each patient.
The menopause may occur quite suddenly. When it does, a number of serious symptoms may develop, including excessive flow and what are commonly called “hot flashes” with drenching sweats, the development of a ravenous appetite and a rapid gain in weight. There are also sometimes changes in the bones and joints, giving rise to the condition known as “menopausal arthritis.” Obviously such symptoms are serious, affecting the entire life of the women concerned. They should be an indication for a complete and careful study of the case and for the administration of such hormones as might be considered by the physician to be desirable.
For the arthritis of the menopause, the use of Cortisone or ACTH has already been shown to be helpful in bringing about relief.
The physician always remembers that the glands are an interlocking chain and the source for disturbance may be not only the sex gland itself, but quite as often the pituitary gland or, occasionally, the thyroid gland. In any event, the psychologic aspects must be studied. It is impossible for anyone to treat himself successfully for disorders of glandular functions such as I have described.