Premature Menopause (Medical Procedural Causes) (cont.)
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.
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.
In this Article
- Premature menopause facts
- What is premature menopause?
- What causes premature menopause?
- Who is at risk for premature menopause?
- What are the symptoms for premature menopause?
- What tests are used to diagnose premature menopause?
- Is there any treatment for premature menopause?
- What are complications of premature menopause?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for premature menopause?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
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. However, when menopause occurs before the age of 40, it is referred to as premature menopause.
What causes premature menopause?
One medical causes of premature menopause is known as premature ovarian failure. Technically, premature ovarian failure is not the same as premature menopause. In premature ovarian failure, the ovaries stop functioning normally before the age of 40. Women with premature ovarian failure may still occasionally have menstrual periods but typically experience infertility. Premature ovarian failure is sometimes called primary ovarian insufficiency; the result of premature ovarian failure usually causes the symptoms of premature menopause.
Premature menopause can also be caused by treatments for cancers or other conditions that involve chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to the pelvis. These treatments can damage the ovaries and result in ovarian failure.
Surgery to remove the ovaries, either for benign or malignant conditions, results in premature menopause if both ovaries are removed. Surgery to remove the uterus results in menopause in the sense that menstrual bleeding does not occur, but the ovaries, if not removed along with the uterus, continue to produce hormones.
Other infrequent causes that may lead to premature menopause include drugs, chronic diseases, pituitary and hypothalamic tumors, psychiatric disorders, and other relatively rare or undefined conditions.
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