Menopause is that stage of reproductive phase in women, when they completely stop ovulating or having menstrual cycles. This is initiated with declining estrogen levels, which is responsible for basic ovarian functioning and ovulation. Low estrogen levels gradually results in complete stoppage of menses and ovulation. This usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, but in some women may begin earlier than usual called as premature menopause.
Women go through a perimenopausal stage, a 2 to 8 year of transition phase that finally progresses into menopause and may begin from late 30s or early 40s. The average age of menopause in women is considered to be 51 years, but some may experience it before 40s too. Menopause is a natural process of ageing, but in certain women it may appear too early in their late 30s or early 40s.
Increasing number of women within their 30s are experiencing mood swings, hot flashes, disturbed sleep patterns and many more menopausal symptoms. One in twenty women are known to undergo unexpected early menopause making them infertile at early age and putting them at higher risk of bone diseases, heart attack and stroke in later lives due to lack of natural protection from estrogen hormone. For others, there could be various possible reasons for attaining an early menopause.
Factors For Variation In Age Of Menopause
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
Women may undergo loss of ovarian function before 40s, which is referred as premature ovarian failure. POF is known to affect around 1 % of the women population causing an early menopause.
Such women experience much severe menopausal symptoms as compared to other women having menopause around 50 years of the age.
Around 2% of women undergoing cancer treatment may need to go through an unavoidable total hysterectomy that results in an early menopause.
In total hysterectomy, uterus and both ovaries (oophorectomy) are removed, dropping down estrogen levels dramatically, causing the women to enter an early menopause or surgical induced menopause. The menopause symptoms start instantly, irrespective of age of the women as the main source of estrogen supply, the ovaries get lost.
Many medical treatments of women may suppress the progesterone and estrogen levels, and damage the ovaries like radiation, chemotherapy and anorexia.
In some women, the menopausal phase could be temporary and continue till treatment is completed. But, after that women may start producing the eggs as before. In other set of women, it can lead to a permanent damage of ovaries, resulting in an early initiation of menopausal symptoms and menopause.
Menopause at Young age Of 30s
Though, not so common to have menopause in early or mid 30s, but it has been observed in certain young women. Basically, it is the lifestyle that is more commonly followed these days that needs to be blamed for such young menopause.
Increasing use of reproductive techniques, birth control methods due to early start of sexual activities, highly stressful professional lives of women have caused for so early menopausal stage. Smoking, eating junk food and excess alcohol consumption in women also tends to play a crucial role in disturbing fertile phase of their lives.