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 cause of premature menopause is 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 include mood swings, vaginal dryness, cognitive changes, hot flashes, decrease in sex drive, and sleep disturbances. Symptoms are the same as those of menopause that occurs later in life.
  • 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.

What is premature menopause?

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Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods cease. It is defined medically as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months. The average age for a natural menopause is 51. Sometimes, menopause occurs earlier, due to diseases, genetic factors, or surgery. There is also a wide variation among women regarding the timing of normal menopause. However, when menopause occurs before the age of 40, it is referred to as premature menopause.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2014

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Menopause Symptoms

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

Physical symptoms of menopause include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Increasing variability of the menstrual cycle, including irregular and missed periods
  • Decreased bone density potentially leading to osteoporosis and fractures.

Emotional symptoms may include:...