What Are The Causes Of Premature Menopause?

Most women go through natural menopause around the age of 45. At this time, the menstrual periods will stop and symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, thinning of the hair, fatigue and even depression may begin. However, for some women the symptoms of menopause start at a much earlier age. It is not unheard of for women to go through menopause even before the age of 40. This may be natural for some women and not for others. There are various reasons women begin menopause prematurely, and these are some of the most common causes of this condition:


Just like other health conditions can be hereditary, so can premature menopause. If your mother, grandmother or sister began menopause at an unusually early age, this can also happen to you. In fact, many women begin menstruation at the same age that their mothers did. Therefore, menstruation may end at the same age as it did for their mothers.

Defects of the Chromosomes 

Certain diseases cause defects of the chromosomes. This means that there may be a missing chromosome or one of the chromosomes may not be developed properly. When this occurs, the ovaries may also not be fully formed. This may cause the ovaries to stop producing estrogen earlier and premature menopause will begin.

Autoimmune Diseases 

If a woman suffers from an autoimmune disease, this can also trigger premature menopause. With certain autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease, the body's own immune system will attack certain areas of the reproductive system. This often harms the ovaries and prevents them from continuing to produce hormones.

Ovarian Surgery 

Premature menopause can also occur shortly after a woman has surgery to remove her ovaries. This can occur with the removal of only one ovary, but is most common when both ovaries are surgically removed. Menstrual periods will end and the symptoms of menopause usually begin in full force right after the surgery.

Chemotherapy or Radiation Treatments 

Women who must have chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatments may also begin menopause prematurely. This is particularly true for those women who had treatment in the pelvic region where the ovaries are directly exposed to chemotherapy and radiation. The damage caused by these treatments can cause premature menopause and a complete loss of fertility.

Women who begin menopause at an early age may also suffer from osteoporosis at an earlier age. This makes the bones more brittle and breaks may occur easier. There are also risks of tooth loss, gum disease, colon cancer and ovarian cancer with the loss of estrogen. Taking estrogen replacement supplements can help reduce these risks. For more information, consult a gynecologist like Darin L Weyhrich.