Premature Menopause

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Premature menopause facts

  • When menopause occurs before the age of 40, it is referred to as premature menopause.
  • One medical causes of premature menopause is known as premature ovarian failure.
  • Other causes of premature menopause include damage to the ovaries by chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments, or surgical removal of the ovaries.
  • The symptoms of premature menopause are those of typical menopause. They can include mood swings, vaginal dryness, cognitive changes, hot flashes, decrease in sex drive, and sleep disturbances.
  • Diagnostic tests can show an elevated level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and low level of estradiol.
  • There is no treatment that can reverse or prevent premature menopause.
  • Hormone therapy and other treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms of premature menopause.
  • Complications of premature menopause include infertility and an increased risk for osteoporosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2013

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Menopause Symptoms

While most women will experience a gradual transition to menopause with a slow onset of symptoms, some women will experience an early (premature) menopause that may bring on immediate symptoms, depending on the cause of the ovarian failure. One common cause of immediate symptoms is a "surgical menopause" following the surgical removal of functioning ovaries.

Menopause symptoms can be perceived as physical problems, emotional disturbances, or problems associated with sexual functioning.

Physical symptoms of menopause include:

  • "Hot flashes" - sudden waves of mild or intense body heat
  • Night sweats - similar to hot flashes that occur at night and result in profuse sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Increasing variability of the menstrual cycle, including irregular and missed periods
  • Decreased bone density (occurring later in the menopausal transition), potentially leading to osteoporosis and fractures.

Emotional symptoms may include:...


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