Are you experiencing symptoms of menopause, but are under the age of 40? If so, you might not be going crazy. It could be that you are experiencing premature menopause. Menopause can come on earlier than 40 for many reasons. Here are a few things that might surprise you.
Premature ovarian failure
This medical cause of early menopause involves failure of the ovaries to function. Premature ovarian failure and premature menopause can be related and often come hand in hand, but they are actually two separate issues. Menopause is when your menstrual cycles cease completely. On the other hand, ovarian failure is when the ovaries fail to release eggs. This can lead to infertility, but you might still have occasional periods, as with perimenopause.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments for various cancers can bring on early menopause. Unfortunately, those cancer treatments destroy healthy cells as well as the cancerous ones. That means that certain bodily systems may never function normally again after the treatment ends. Premature menopause is a common problem for women fighting cancer.
Removal of the ovaries
There are several conditions that might require the ovaries to be completely removed. When the ovaries are removed, normal menstruation cycles cannot continue. The ovaries release the estrogen and other hormones that help the reproductive system function, and without them your cycles will end. If you have a complete hysterectomy with removal of both ovaries and the uterus, you will have immediate menopause, which can bring much more severe symptoms.
Other medications and drugs
There are many medications that scientists are just beginning to understand how they affect reproductive health over time. There are definite links to premature menopause and psychiatric disorders, primarily because the medications used to treat these disorders can bring on early menopause with decreases or irregularities in hormone levels. In fact, many antipsychotic medications directly cause infertility and abnormalities in hormones.
If you believe you are experiencing menopause earlier than normal, you shouldn’t write it off as nonsense. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more about hormone testing and hormone replacement therapy.