Menopause is the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles. The term can describe any of the changes you go through just before or after you stop having your period, marking the end of your reproductive years.
A woman is born with all of her eggs, which are stored in her ovaries. The ovaries also make the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control her period (menstruation) and the release of eggs (ovulation). Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release an egg every month and menstruation stops. Menopause is a regular part of aging when it happens after the age of 40. But some women can go through menopause early. It can be the result of surgery, like if their ovaries are removed in a hysterectomy, or damage to their ovaries, such as from chemotherapy. If it happens before age 40, for any reason, it’s called premature menopause.
What Conditions Cause Premature Menopause?
Your genes, some immune system disorders, or medical procedures can cause premature menopause. Other causes include:
1) Premature Ovarian Failure. When your ovaries prematurely stop releasing eggs, for unknown reasons, your levels of estrogen and progesterone change. When this happens before you’re 40, it’s called premature ovarian failure. Unlike premature menopause, premature ovarian failure isn’t always permanent.
2) Induced Menopause. This happens when your doctor takes out your ovaries for medical reasons, such as uterine cancer or endometriosis. It can also happen when radiation or chemotherapy damages your ovaries.
Most women nearing menopause will have hot flashes, sudden feelings of warmth that spread over the upper body, often with blushing and sweating. These flashes can range from mild in most women to severe in others.
Other symptoms include:
- 1) Uneven or missed periods
- 2) Insomnia
- 3) Mood swings
- 4) Fatigue
- 5) Depression
- 6) Crankiness
- 7) Racing heart
- 8) Headaches
- 9) Joint and muscle aches and pains
- 10) Changes in libido (sex drive)
- 11) Vaginal dryness
- 12) Trouble controlling your bladder