By Lynda Wallas

CFS linked to Early Menopause

Researches from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention are talking about a link between CFS and early on-set menopause and other ongoing gynaecological conditions. Women with CFS are more likely to experience some signs of early menopause (defined as undergoing menopause before the age of 45) and are 12 times more likely to experience non-menstruation related pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome.  Excessive bleeding was another symptom more prevalent in women with CFS than those without, as was undergoing a gynaecological surgical procedure – with hysterectomy being the most common.

The researchers note that past studies have associated CFS with gynecologic conditions, such as endometriosis and IC/PBS, as well as pelvic pain. They say theirs, however, is the first study to link CFS with early menopause, and health care providers should take note of this finding. Dr Margery Gass, director of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), adds:

“CFS can take a tremendous toll on women’s lives at midlife and on our society and health care system. Being aware of the association of CFS and earlier menopause can help providers assist women in sorting out symptoms of CFS from symptoms of menopause.”

The team says their findings may also help explain why CFS is most common among women in their 40s.

This paper also raises the chicken and egg question: Is early menopause the cause of later health problems or simply the result of earlier health problems not recognised as the cause of early menopause?

The above was reported in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in February 2015.

It is really quite incredible to finally read something like this; it joins a heap of dots for me. Finding that some of the happenings of the last 10 years of my life are explained in scientific terms, or are beginning to be, is kind of reassuring. I just wrote a post about the ‘unknown’ aspects of CFS and how that makes much of your life an unknown… something that is really difficult to learn to live with. Reading the statement from Dr Gass above made me nod profusely. Last week I saw a lady doctor at my clinic because I needed to get a pap smear done. I hadn’t seen her before so I asked her during the consult if she by any chance knew anything about CFS and menopause and the impacts of having both together. She said ‘no’. And that was all she said. She didn’t even ask me how long I’d had CFS, how I was managing it…. nothing. No knowledge or no interest? I found out a long time ago that CFS can be a conversation stopper but this is someone in the medical profession, and it’s no longer 1980, you know, surely we’ve moved on from the yuppie flu tag and people not really believing it is a real medical condition. I mean my god, there are teenagers with CFS who can’t finish their schooling. There are women in their 40s struggling with debilitating fatigue, joint and muscle pain, cerebral issues, cardiovascular issues, gut disorders and sensory intolerances ALL AT THE SAME TIME AS coping with the mind field of menopause symptoms and aging!

That’s quite a bit to cope with… I only hope that the research continues, not just into the links and impacts but also into some answers with regards to treatment and relief.

Check out for a summary of the article released back in February and for information on the latest research into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Lynda Wallas
Lynda Wallas
About me

I’ve always been interested in health and fitness…. which turned out to be a good thing when fertility treatment in my 30s took a toll on my health, leading to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and early onset menopause. More about Lynda...

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