Understanding Premature Menopause

Menopause is a phase in a woman’s life when her monthly menstrual cycles ends. Natural menopause normally happens when a lady is in her mid 50s. This is a typical part of the aging process and implies that a woman can no longer conceive. There are fundamentally three stages to natural menopause:

  • Perimenopause: This is a evolution phase where the ovaries start to produce less hormones, causing inconsistent levels of estrogen and progesterone, as well as less testosterone. This stage stops when menopause starts. Menopausal indications tend to begin during this time and can often be the worst.
  • Menopause: The menstruation cycle stops in this stage. The ovaries no longer release eggs and estrogen levels become extremely low. Once a woman has not had menstruation for 12 straight months then it is safe to say that she has gone through menopause. Nonetheless, it is extremely crucial to ensure that the absence of periods is not due to another reason such as abnormal thyroid function or the use of birth control pills.
  • Postmenopause: This is a phase where a woman has already gone through menopause. The symptoms that occur during menopause, such as hot flushes, may start to disappear but could continue for a decade or longer in many cases.


    Premature menopause can be caused by any medical condition or treatment or it may have no known cause. Possible factors that could cause premature menopause are listed below:

    • Ovarian surgery.
    • Smoking.
    • Underwent uterus surgery (hysterectomy).
    • Side effects due to chemotherapy or radiation.
    • Family history of early age menopause.
    • Certain medical conditions, including:
  • Chromosomal abnormalities (Fragile X, Turner’s syndrome).
  • Autoimmune diseases (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease).
  • HIV and AIDS.
  • Having certain infections such as Mumps.


    Women may start having sporadic monthly cycles for a few years prior to the last menstrual period. One needs to talk to the doctor about the irregular cycles in order to look into any potential causes. Hot flushes, which are essentially the abrupt warmth that spreads throughout the body, are one of the indications and symptoms.

    • Sweats at night and/or cold flashes.
    • The need to urinate more often.
    • Infections of the urinary tract (or symptoms without an infection).
    • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
    • Mood fluctuations, mild depression, increased anxiety, and other emotional disturbances.
    • Dry lips, dry eyes, and dry skin.
    • Tender breasts.
    • A beating heart
    • Headaches.
    • Pains in the muscles and joints.
    • Variations in libido.
    • Concentration issues and memory problems (often temporary).
    • Gaining weight.
    • Hair loss or thinning.
    Dr. Reenu Jain
    Associate Director
    Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
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