How to Temporarily Reverse Menopause

Menopause sometimes called the "change of life," is a natural process that generally occurs when a woman reaches middle age. It can start as early as in a woman's 40s, but the early 50s is most common for women in the US. The "big change" is also associated with the end of menstruation and a woman's ability to become pregnant naturally.

Key takeaways:
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    Menopause cannot be prevented, but new studies suggest reversal may be possible.
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    Menopause is not a single event but a natural biological process that occurs in stages.
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    Ovarian rejuvenation treatments use PRP to reverse ovarian aging and stimulate egg release. Data from ovarian rejuvenation studies suggest these treatments may restart ovarian function for a limited time.
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    Researchers believe that melatonin plays a critical role in producing reproductive hormones; without it, the levels of these crucial hormones rapidly decline. So, they are exploring how melatonin therapy may restore monthly menstruation.

However, is menopause the end of a woman's ability to get pregnant? New research suggests it may be possible to reverse menopause and prolong normal ovarian function needed for conception.

What happens during menopause?

Menopause is a time of hormonal and physical changes for all women. Menopause officially "begins" when twelve months have passed since your last period. However, in the weeks, months, and years leading up to this time, you may experience various symptoms, such as hot flashes, problems with sleep, weight changes, and irregular monthly cycles. These are all symptoms of perimenopause (the time "around or before menopause") when a woman's body begins to transition into full menopause.

When does menopause start?

Each woman may experience the onset of menopause at a different time. Menopause occurs in stages, and, in some cases, it can take between eight and ten years for a woman to fully transition into menopause. In general, the menopausal transition begins when a woman is in her mid-40s or early 50s. However, premature and early menopause can start as early as the early 30s for some women.

How does menopause affect the body?

While menopause and various stages of the menopausal transition are a natural part of aging all women experience, the symptoms that occur during and leading up to the onset of menopause vary greatly from woman to woman. The root cause of many changes that occur within the body before and during menopause occur due to hormonal changes. Two hormones, estrogen, and progesterone are female hormones linked to reproduction.

Because ovarian function changes with age and while approaching menopause, these hormones' levels also reduce. As a result, a woman who has started menopause will no longer have periods and can no longer naturally conceive children. Reduced estrogen levels also have other effects on the body, including changes in sexual drive, hot flashes, mood changes, frequent urination, elevated cholesterol, reduced bone density, and changes to your immune function.

Is menopause temporarily reversible?

Long-standing beliefs surrounding menopause hold that menopause cannot be reversed and that it is impossible to make your ovaries function normally again after menopause (postmenopause). New and emerging research suggests this assumption may not hold truth —at least in some instances.

Recent studies indicate it may be possible if only temporarily, to reverse the impacts of menopause. Current research focuses on two potential treatment options, both of which look to reduce the symptoms commonly associated with menopause and restore the body's natural ovulation process. It is important to note that research into both treatments is in its early stages, but studies suggest they show promise for women looking to potentially turn back the clock on menopause.

Melatonin therapy

Although a popular sleep aid supplement, melatonin is also a naturally occurring hormone. It is produced in the pineal gland. Studies have shown that this gland starts to shrink as women near menopause. However, researchers believe that melatonin plays a critical role in producing reproductive hormones. Therefore, without it, the levels of these crucial hormones rapidly decline. A recent study of the effects of melatonin on certain menopausal symptoms indicated a nightly dose of three milligrams of melatonin restored monthly menstruation in women between ages 43 and 49 who were either in perimenopause or menopause at the time of the study. Melatonin supplements did not produce notable effects in older women between ages 50 and 62.

Ovarian rejuvenation

Ovarian rejuvenation is a second treatment currently in the early phases of research. This procedure was developed by a group of fertility doctors in Athens, Greece. Ovarian rejuvenation involves injecting the ovaries with platelet-rich plasma. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is derived from one's blood. To create a PRP injection, doctors draw blood from the patient and process it through a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the plasma (the liquid portion of blood). Then, the platelets are used to create the injection.

Doctors use PRP in several medical procedures because it contributes to the body's natural healing abilities. In some instances, PRP injections can help improve wound healing from injury or trauma. In other cases, PRP injections are used as a treatment option for hair loss, arthritis, and muscle injuries. Additionally, PRP is an effective, natural way to increase tissue regeneration, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow.

The theory behind using PRP to reverse menopause potentially is based on the belief that because PRP can reverse the signs of aging throughout the body, it may also activate dormant eggs in the ovaries. Doctors at the Genesis Clinic in Athens, Greece, conducted a small study of women in the early stages of the menopausal transition who had been period free for about five months.

Researchers tested participants' hormone levels at the beginning of the study and each month thereafter to follow their ovarian function. After one to three months of regular PRP injections, all participants resumed normal menstruation, and researchers were able to retrieve mature eggs for use in in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Furthermore, studies suggest that pregnancy may be possible after perimenopause starts. Although challenging for some, procedures such as ovarian rejuvenation may trigger the ovaries to naturally release eggs again — at least for a limited time. Depending on the individual, ovarian rejuvenation may rebalance or even restore levels of reproductive hormones vital for releasing eggs. This process may help women conceive naturally or allow providers to retrieve mature eggs for IVF procedures.

Researchers have been studying ovarian rejuvenation for some time. Early-stage clinical trials began in 2015, and data from unpublished reports appear promising but more research is needed, and neither treatment option is guaranteed to produce successful results.

If you are experiencing perimenopause or menopausal symptoms and wonder if it is still possible to conceive, it is essential to talk to your provider about your health and treatment options. Depending on your unique needs and overall health, treatment options such as ovarian rejuvenation or melatonin therapy may offer the opportunity to become pregnant despite the onset of perimenopause or menopause.

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