What is menopause?
Menopause occurs once a woman’s ovaries start producing less estrogen. When a woman’s estrogen level decreases, it will cause irregularities in the menstrual cycle, until it stops for good.
Ages 45 to 55 is when women normally experience menopause. However, research shows that 1% of women can go through menopause before reaching their 40’s.
What is premature or early menopause?
Premature or early menopause happens when a woman goes through menopause before the expected normal menopausal age, or before the age of 40 . This occurrence can take place naturally, or it can be induced due to medical treatments or surgeries.
Early or premature menopause cannot be delayed or reversed. However, there are available treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms of early or premature menopause.
Women who have gone through early or premature menopause can experience infertility and other serious medical conditions, such as osteoporosis and ischemic heart disease.
What causes premature or early menopause?
Before reaching 40, some women already undergo menopause.
There are some rare instances where a girl aged 13 has already gone through menopause. The causes of premature or early menopause can sometimes be identified, but there are still instances that the origin is unknown.
To give you an insight into what triggers early menopause, here are some possible causes:
One of the known factors on why premature or early menopause happens is due to medical surgeries and treatments. Induced menopause refers to terminated menstrual cycle as a result of the following.
This is a surgical procedure that removes both ovaries. This type of surgery causes your estrogen level to drop rapidly, which leads to immediate menopause.
This is the surgical removal of the uterus. According to Duke University researchers, young women who undergo hysterectomy have greater chances of experiencing early menopause even though they have preserved both of their ovaries.
Without the uterus, there is no menstruation as the hormonally responsive endometrial lining is absent. However, hormonal production of the ovaries may continue. Women who kept both of their ovaries after hysterectomy might naturally experience menopause just a year or two compared to women who did not have the surgery due to probable decrease in the blood supply
However, if you had a hysterectomy and had both of your ovaries removed as well, then you will experience menopause right away.
Chemotherapy and other radiation treatments
These can cause different levels of damage to your ovaries, depending on the number of treatments and the drugs used. These therapies can cause temporary to permanent menopause or early menopause to younger women.
Underlying medical conditions, such as:
Autoimmune diseases such as hypothyroidism, Crohn’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, or rheumatoid arthritis cause the immune system to mistakenly attack organs in the body, like the ovaries, which leads to premature menopause.