Definition - What does Premature Menopause mean?
Premature menopause occurs when a woman under the age of 40 loses ovarian function. Woman who experience premature menopause no longer ovulate and are unable to become pregnant through intercourse. However, some fertility treatments may allow women to become pregnant. Certain illnesses or medical treatments can cause premature menopause.
Premature menopause is also called premature ovarian failure (POF) or early menopause.
FertilitySmarts explains Premature Menopause
The primary sign of early menopause is a lack of menstrual periods or highly irregular periods over the course of one year. At that point, other symptoms of menopause including vaginal dryness, hot flashes, sleep problems, or lack of sex drive may be considered. However, a final diagnosis can be made by taking blood tests to measure the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) present in the woman's body.
A woman diagnosed with premature menopause may still be able to become pregnant, depending on the cause of the condition. The use of donor eggs along with in vitro fertilization and hormone replacement therapy can be utilized in different circumstances.
Premature menopause can be caused by a variety of circumstances. Certain medical treatments, including chemotherapy or radiation that occurs near the pelvis, can damage the ovaries, causing the cessation of ovulation.
Surgeries such as a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus, or bilateral oophorectomy, removal of both ovaries, will also induce early menopause.
Early menopause can also be caused by certain health conditions, including autoimmune diseases or genetic disorders.