Premature Menopause

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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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:...

Quick GuideMenopause and Perimenopause Pictures Slideshow

Menopause and Perimenopause Pictures Slideshow

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?

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. 

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/17/2016

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