Early menopause

Early menopause, also known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop functioning normally before the age of 40. This condition can result in a cessation of menstrual periods and a decline in fertility earlier than expected. Early menopause can happen spontaneously or as a result of medical treatments, surgery, or other factors.

Causes of early menopause may include:

  1. Genetic factors: Some women may inherit genetic mutations or chromosomal abnormalities that affect ovarian function.
  2. Autoimmune disorders: Conditions such as autoimmune ovarian failure can cause the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack ovarian tissue, leading to premature ovarian insufficiency.
  3. Medical treatments: Certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer can damage ovarian tissue and lead to early menopause.
  4. Surgical removal of ovaries: Removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy) due to medical conditions such as ovarian cancer or endometriosis can induce early menopause.
  5. Hormonal disorders: Disorders affecting hormone production, such as Turner syndrome or galactosemia, can result in early menopause.
  6. Lifestyle factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain dietary factors may contribute to early menopause.

Symptoms of early menopause are similar to those of natural menopause and may include irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and decreased libido. Early menopause can also increase the risk of certain health conditions such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline.

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