One in 100 women, before they turn 40, will start to experience the frustrating symptoms of early menopause.
If you wake at night drenched in sweat or struggling to concentrate then maybe you are beginning to experience symptoms of menopause. This natural transition to infertility was often experienced by women around 50. However, if this begins in your 30’s, they can be downright scary.
Early menopause may be brought on by surgery that removes the ovaries. This could result in a drop in the levels of estrogen and other female hormones which may cause hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other signs of menopause.
However, by the age of 40, one in 100 women experience these symptoms for other reasons which are often hard to pin down. This medical condition is technically known as premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). According to Shawn Tassone MD, an ob-gyn who specializes in integrative medicine at Austin Area Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Fertility, this condition involves ovaries that poop out early.
One key sign for POI diagnosis is having an irregular or skipped periods for four months. Women with this condition may face more than low libido and mood swings. They will likely struggle with infertility, which indicates as a first sign that something is not right.
Often times, POI happens without an obvious cause. Many women are unaware of the few things that are known to bring it on.
Here Are The Top Factors That Put You At Risk:
Your Mom Went Through Early Menopause
In a 2011 review study, it was found that in up to 20% of cases, the woman has a family history of POI.
According to Dr. Tassone:
“POI seems to be genetic: You tend to see it run in families. It can come from either side.”
Addison’s Disease, in which the adrenal glands don’t produce enough hormones, and thyroiditis (inflammation in the thyroid gland) have been linked to POI.
In these diseases, your own immune system attacks the follicles (small sacs where eggs mature) in your ovaries, thus affecting with their ability to function.
Some other autoimmune disorders that can affect the probability of entering early menopause are insulin-dependent diabetes, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
FMR1 is a gene that causes Fragile X syndrome, which is the most common form of inherited intellectual impairment. Even if you don’t have the syndrome you can have a mutation on that same gene that causes problems with your ovaries – leading to fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency. According to a report by the National Institutes of Health, this is the case for one in 33 women with POI.
Another genetic disorder associated with POI is Turner Syndrome (in which a woman has only one X chromosome)
Chemotherapy Or Radiation
These treatments often trigger early menopause as it can damage the genetic material of the ovarian cells. However, the damage depends on factors like the dose of radiation and type of drug, the area of your body that was radiated, and the age at the time of treatment.
Smoking Or Other Toxin Exposure
According to Dr. Tassone:
“Some toxins can bring on premature ovarian failure. Things like cigarettes and pesticides.”
Women are born with enough primordial follicles (tiny seeds that grow into follicles) to last around the age of 50 – the natural age of menopause. However, if you are exposed to harmful chemicals, you might run out of follicles sooner rather than later.
All of these are possible explanations for entering early menopause. Be sure to consult your physician if you think there may be an underlying issue to your symptoms.