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Menopause Risk Factors

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Typically women begin to experience menopause symptoms from ages 40 up to 55. However, certain risk factors can alter a woman’s reproductive function and rhythm that can lead to an early onset of menopause.  Menopause that comes much earlier than expected is called premature ovarian failure or just plain premature menopause. Premature menopause starts before the woman reaches the age of 40 when she normally begins to experience menopause. In the United States, about 1% of women experience premature menopause each year.

Certain surgeries like oophorectomy, which is the surgical removal of the ovaries can cause the sudden onset of menopause. Radiation treatment particularly ones that damages the ovaries can also trigger premature menopause. A female can also experience early onset of menopause when she suffers from certain autoimmune conditions or a genetic disorder.


When a woman has an oophorectomy or even a hysterectomy, which is the surgical extraction of the uterus, the levels of progesterone and estrogen in her body drop dramatically. A lot of women experience premature menopause after undergoing pelvic surgery or cervical cancer surgery. If a woman has a bilateral oophorectomy, which is the taking out of both her ovaries, this will lead to her immediate menopause.

Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy

The harmful radiation a woman is exposed to during radiation therapy can severely damage or destroy her ovaries and ovarian tissues leading to early menopause. The toxic drugs in chemotherapy also can likely damage or destroy not only her ovaries or ovarian tissues but her entire reproductive system as well.

Chromosome Defects

Flaws in the chromosomes of a woman can cause premature menopause. Turner syndrome is a condition wherein a girl is born with a chromosome set that is incomplete. This syndrome causes the girl’s ovaries to dysfunction and one of the effects of this dysfunction is her early entry into menopause.

Autoimmune Diseases

One typical symptom of a lot of autoimmune disease is premature menopause. When a female has an autoimmune problem, her immune system mistakenly recognizes a part of her body as a foreign object and therefore attacks it. The female’s ovaries and her ovarian tissues are often attacked and destroyed by her immune system when she has rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disease, both autoimmune diseases. The attack and damage to her ovaries and ovarian tissues invariably leads to the early onset of menopause.


For some reason, studies have shown that women suffering from epilepsy are at high risk for premature menopause.  Women with epilepsy often experience ovarian failure before the age of 40.  The study indicated that about 5% of women with epilepsy had premature menopause compared to only 1% of women who don’t suffer from any epileptic conditions.


Premature menopause can be an inherited disorder and women who have family members or relatives who experienced premature menopause are at high risk to experience it themselves.


There is a direct link of smoking women to premature menopause. Some studies have proven that certain chemicals in cigarettes are toxic to the eggs making them die prematurely.

Written by Valerie

January 19th, 2014 at 6:37 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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