Causes of Early Onset Menopause

Early MenopauseThe typical age for the early onset menopause is 51 years old. The average is between the ages 45-55, but it commencing during 30’s or 40’s is not uncommon. Apart from the physical symptoms, women experiencing an early start to menopause may find it more difficult to cope because of the emotional implications. Menopause is the start of decline in reproductive functions, so women who still wish to have children it is a difficulty reality to reconcile.

Signs of Early Onset Menopause

There is little difference in menopause symptoms of whether it is early or not. These symptoms include:

Your primary health care provider can help diagnose whether you are experiencing an early onset of menopause or not. This can be done through an early menopause test (blood test) to measure specific estradiol levels that may indicate the hormonal changes in women. When this level falls below 30, it can be an indicator of early onset menopause. Other blood test include testing for FSH, which accounts for the functions of ovaries. A decline in production shows that you may be in menopause.

What Causes Early Menopause

  • Surgical removal of the ovaries

In cases where ovaries are needed to be removed, the result is induced menopause. Ovaries are responsible for the release of eggs that dictate the fertility of a woman, and to have them abruptly stop releasing the eggs altogether leads to early menopause. Oftentimes, surgically induced menopause can cause severe symptoms due to the abrupt decline in hormone levels. Ovarian function ceases which cause estrogen levels to drop significantly, forcing the woman to induced menopause.

Women who suffer from endometriosis, ovarian cancer, or polyps may require the removal of the ovaries or uterus.

  • Premature ovarian failure

In about 1% of women, premature ovarian failure may occur. Although it is not fully understood, premature ovarian failure leads to gradual decline of the production of hormones and release of eggs. This can then turn into early onset menopause since it commonly occurs in women before the age 40.

  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy

The results of chemotherapy and radiation therapy can have adverse effects on the reproductive function of women. Depending on the proximity to the site and on the amount of therapy administered, these treatments can cause damage to the ovaries. Since chemotherapy kills not only cancer, but also healthy cells, it can affect the production of egg cells. Those who are taking Tamoxifen in order to reduce their symptoms may also develop early onset menopause as its side effect.

  • Infection

Although evidence is still inconclusive, infections especially those in viral form could possibly trigger early menopause in women. This includes conditions such as cytomegalovirus or mumps. Tuberculosis can also infect the ovaries, causing effects in hormonal balance.

  • Other Factors

In a recent study done by Gold, EB, et. al., an early commencement of menopause has been associated with different demographic factors such as; prior contraceptive use, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity, baseline weight, and even educational level.

Early Onset Menopause Depends on the Individual

Menopause is an individual experience and there are many predisposing factors to its occurrence. In order to find specific approaches to you own care, a proper understanding of your condition is essential.  Further information on how to manage your symptoms of menopause can be found here.

Wordpress SEO Plugin by SEOPressor