The average age for the onset of menopause is 51, however around 1 in 100 women experience menopause before the age of 40. Menopause can happen at any stage in life and it is important to acknowledge that women across a number of age groups could be experiencing menopause symptoms. What causes menopause at different ages? Keep reading this blog post to learn more!
Some women may have to experience surgical menopause due to a particular health condition. Surgical menopause may be induced through having surgery to remove the ovaries, which is called a oophorectomy or having a surgery to remove the uterus, called a hysterectomy. In both of these situations, menopause would be induced. A woman may need to have a hysterectomy performed due to conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or adenomyosis.
Smoking is a risk factor for experiencing early menopause. Research has shown that the chemicals that are inhaled through smoking can trigger a process to begin that destroys ovarian cells. Through the destruction of ovarian cells, menopause could be induced early.
Chemotherapy or radiation
Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation can both cause damage to the ovaries. Through this, periods can either become irregular or can even stop altogether, leading to menopause and to also experiencing the symptoms associated with menopause. Hormonal treatments for breast cancer also carry the potential side effect of inducing menopause early.
Your likelihood of experiencing early menopause as a result of radiation or chemotherapy can be affected by a number of factors. These include your age, girls who have not reached puberty are more likely to withstand stronger treatments, the type of treatment you receive and where the treatment is focused on your body. The risk of experiencing early menopause is increased if you have radiography focused near your brain or pelvis.
If a female in your family also experienced menopause at an early age, this can potentially increase the likelihood of you also experiencing menopause early, as there is a genetic link. It can be useful to talk to your relatives if you think that you might have the potential of undergoing early menopause.
Autoimmune diseases are caused when your body’s immune system attacks your own cells. Usually, your immune system is capable of distinguishing between cells that are your own and cells that are foreign to your body. In someone with an autoimmune disease, your immune system is incapable of telling this difference. Some of these autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, can cause early menopause.
Certain infections also carry the potential to cause early menopause. Such infections include mumps, tuberculosis and malaria. Mumps is a contagious disease that causes the salivary glands to swell, tuberculosis is a bacterial infection and malaria is a tropical disease that is spread by mosquitoes. Although possible, it is very rare for these infections to cause early menopause.