News & Resources

Why Am I Going Through Early Menopause?

August 29, 2014
By Dr. Wayne Maxson

A woman is born with a certain number of eggs and that number decreases as her age advances.

While the average age of menopause is over 50, some women do go through menopause early. The frequency is estimated at 1 in 250 women under 35 and 1 in 100 women under 40.

Although in most instances the reason for early menopause is unknown, there are a number of known causes such as:

  • Missing or abnormal X chromosome
  • Reaction of the body to the ovaries or the ovarian follicles (egg sacs), termed as autoimmune cause
  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy 

There also may be specific, minute genetic defects that can lead to early loss of eggs, but these are still being investigated.

It is important to diagnoses the condition of early menopause as soon as possible. Although there is usually no treatment, in some cases eggs can be retrieved and frozen in order to preserve future fertility. In addition, the loss of the ovarian hormone estrogen at an early age can cause poor health later in life, including a potential increase in heart disease and osteoporosis. Estrogen replacement may be very beneficial in younger women who have lost ovarian function.

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