The average age American women go through menopause is age 51. If menopause (hormonal changes at the end of the female reproductive years) occurs before age 40, it is said to be premature menopause. Possible causes include autoimmune problems and common cancer treatments.
About half of all women will go through menopause before age 51 and the rest will go through it after. Most women will finish menopause between the ages of 42-58. A small number of women will find that their periods stop prematurely, before age 40.
There are many possible causes of premature menopause. Women who have premature menopause often have autoimmune disorders like thyroid disease or diabetes mellitus. In these diseases, the body produces antibodies to one or more of its own organs. These antibodies interfere with the normal function of the organ. Just as antibodies might attack the thyroid or the pancreas (causing thyroid disease or diabetes), antibodies may attack the ovaries and stop the production of female hormones.
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation can cause premature menopause. The risk depends on the type and length of treatment and the age of the woman when she first begins radiation or chemotherapy.
If the ovaries are surgically removed (during a hysterectomy, for example) menopause will occur within a few days, no matter how old the woman is.
The symptoms of premature menopause are similar to those of menopause at any time. Menstrual periods stop and women may notice hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and sleep problems. Sometimes the first symptom of premature menopause is infertility. A woman may find that she cannot become pregnant because she is not ovulating (producing eggs) anymore.
When menopause occurs after the ovaries are surgically removed, the symptoms begin within several days after surgery and tend to be more severe. This happens because the drop in the level of estrogen is dramatic, unlike the gradual drop that usually occurs.
Premature menopause can be confirmed by blood tests to measure the levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The levels of these hormones will be higher if menopause has occurred.
Because premature menopause is often associated with other hormonal problems, women who have premature menopause should be screened for diabetes, thyroid disease, and similar diseases.
Natural Alternatives for Menopause
Bioidentical Progesterone Cream with Phytoestrogens
Contains both progesterone and phytoestrogens which work together to provide women more effective control of their menopausal symptoms.
Menopause Formula (PhytoBalance)
PhytoBalance contains eight of the most tested and proven herbs that reduces hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability, and depression associated with perimenopause and menopause.
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A clinician based website that offers easily accessible, up-to-date, accurate information about the menopause, menopausal symptoms and treatment options, including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and alternative therapies, so that women and health professionals can make informed choices about menopause management.