Normal menopause is a gradual process that starts between the ages of 45 and 55. It is defined as occurring in women who have at least one ovary, and takes 5 to 10 years, though it can take up to 13 years.
Early menopause, on the other hand, can start in the 30’s or early 40’s, in women who have at least one ovary.1% of women will have finished their mid life transition by the age of 40.
Here are some of the causes of early menopause in women:
-chronic stress to the body - this can include excessive athletic training
-Mumps and other serious viral infections which can damage a woman’s eggs
Women who have had their ovaries removed before they experience a natural menopause will undergo what is called ‘artificial menopause’.
Women who have a hysterectomy, even with the preservation of their ovaries, may find themselves having menopausal symptoms.
Ovarian failure does not necessarily mean that the ovaries have run out of eggs. There may be eggs present, but a woman’s body does not respond to the hormonal signals they create.
Another ovarian disorder, called ‘diminished ovarian reserve’, is often a preamble of premature ovarian failure if it occurs in woman under the age of 40. In it, a woman may still have reasonably regular periods, but she begins to experience the symptoms of menopause.