Scientists have announced they can now reverse the menopause in what is thought to be a major scientific breakthrough.
The menopause typically occurs naturally in women between 45 and 55 years of age when their periods start to become less frequent over a few months, before stopping altogether. The process can often be accompanied by a number of symptoms including hot flushes, difficulty sleeping and vaginal dryness, as well as low mood and anxiety. Menopause can occur at a much earlier age for many women, often triggered by chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments. Most women are born with two million eggs but lose 1,500 eggs every month. At 30 years, a woman has 70,000 eggs that drops to 30,000 at 35 years.
‘Ovaries can be rejuvenated by using a blood treatment with platelet-rich plasma. This helps to reverse the menopause and collect and fertilize eggs. As a result, older and post-menopausal women will be able to conceive.’
AdvertisementThe research, undertaken by scientists in Athens, has been presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual meeting in Finland. The scientists used platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which triggers the growth of tissue and blood vessels and is thought to quicken the repair of damaged bones and muscles by stimulated tissue regeneration. The treatment, involves extracting blood from a patient and spinning it in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets in the plasma, the fluid part of blood. The fluid is then injected back into the patient. They injected PRP into the ovaries of women who had already undergone the menopause and say they found it restarted their menstrual cycles, causing them to experience periods again.
From these restarted periods, the researchers have been able to collect and fertilise eggs which the women have released, raising the possibility that they could be implanted in their uterus and the women could subsequently have children. However, the team have yet to implant any eggs to test the theory.
Trials claim to have rejuvenated women's ovaries using a blood treatment normally used to help wounds heal faster and have reversed menstrual cessation in multiple women. One woman who had undergone menopause five years ago, now 40 years old, wanted a baby, responded well to the treatment. Six months after the treatment, the woman had her first periods. Scientists collected three eggs from the woman and two of them have been successfully fertilized with her husband's sperm. Once there are three, they will be implanted into her uterus.
The technique can be manipulated in other ways too. After injecting the PRP into the uteruses of six women who have had multiple miscarriages and failed IVF, three have now become pregnant via IVF. The fertility rate for women who are 40 years and above, have risen with 15.2 live births per 1,000 women, compared with women under 20 years.
Konstantinos Sfakianoudis a gynecologist at the Genesis Athens Hospital's Center for Human Reproduction told, "It offers a window of hope that menopausal women will be able to get pregnant using their own genetic material. It seems to work in about two-thirds of cases. We see changes in biochemical patterns, a restoration of menses, and egg recruitment and fertilisation." He said he has treated the ovaries of around 30 menopausal women age 46 to 49 with PRP and was able to retrieve and fertilize eggs from most of them. He added, "We need larger studies before we can know for sure how effective the treatment is."