Causes of menopause: why can it be premature?

The menopause is a physiological and natural process, but certain factors or conditions can trigger or accelerate the interruption of the female reproductive phase.

Natural hormone reduction

From the age of 30, in general, the body begins to suffer a drop in the production of hormones.

Even though it seems like a short time, at this age the organism can show significant changes in disposition, cell production, metabolism and functioning in general.

Observing other women in the family, such as mother and sisters, can give hints about the hormonal phases, as there is a tendency for menopause to occur at approximate ages among family members.

Early menstrual interruption, even before the age of 30, can also be the result of this natural hormonal decrease, without other associated disorders.

Primary ovarian failure

Women who have primary ovarian failure (IOP) have only a few occasional periods or no bleeding.

Levels of follicle stimulating hormone are higher, causing a decrease in the number of eggs in the body. Some patients may not suffer from menstrual changes or dysregulations, but it is possible for early menopause to occur.

In these cases, patients must undergo medical monitoring and be attentive to symptoms resulting from the lack of estrogen, such as bone, brain and sexual health.

Among the main causes of primary ovarian failure are enzyme deficiencies, genetic defects and immune disorders (such as sarcoidosis , diabetes , smoking , viral infection, Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia and adrenal insufficiency).

Hysterectomy

The Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus which can be accompanied by the removal of the ovaries (total) or not (partial).

In partial hysterectomy, the woman will no longer have the monthly bleeding (as soon as there is no longer the uterine layer to peel), but the ovaries are maintained and, therefore, remain producing hormones.

In this case, there is no menstruation, but neither is there necessarily menopause. Therefore, the main characteristic of the phase – the absence of menstruation – cannot indicate the beginning of the period. Only the other symptoms and hormonal dosage tests can indicate the end of the reproductive phase.

If the woman undergoes a total hysterectomy (both the uterus and the ovaries are removed), menopause is induced immediately. Symptoms can occur more intensely, depending on each organism.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Treatments to destroy cancer cells can also damage healthy cells.

Chemotherapy consists of ingesting drugs that circulate through the body and destroy damaged cells, however, as it is not possible to restrict the action, other cells may be damaged during treatment, including those in the ovary.

Radiotherapy, on the other hand, uses high intensity waves or frequencies to destroy cells in specific regions. Despite being well defined, the therapy can affect regions close to those of the destroyed cells.

It is mainly the radiotherapy of the pelvic region that is most likely to cause the induced menopause.

Treatments that use less intense waves may have a temporary effect, causing limited amenorrhea, in which the woman’s reproductive functions can be recovered after some time without menstruating.


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