Although there are genetic aspects that we cannot control, there are also external factors that can influence the early onset of menopause, so they should be taken into account
The age at which menopause comes is predetermined from birth and cannot be delayed. However, some factors can anticipate its appearance. Therefore, although it is not within your power to alter the genetic code, you can protect yourself by avoiding certain habits that are harmful to your health.
According to experts, the global trend of entering menopause is between 50 and 51 years. Only 1 in 100 women has menopause when they enter their 40s or younger. However, the number may increase as many women lead poor lifestyles. This means that there may be women who are not even 40 years old who experience early menopause.
Let’s see what are the factors that, according to scientific evidence , promote the early arrival of menopause.
1. Chromosomal defects
Genetic problems linked to the sex chromosome X, such as Turner syndrome and fragile X syndrome, can accelerate the onset of menopause. These conditions cause women who present them to be born with defective ovaries. These will contain fewer healthy follicles and many with atrophies.Read:5 benefits of walking
Genetic causes are generally diagnosed when women are very young, most of the time long before they enter puberty. It is possible that there are cases of women who develop normally, start their menstruation at the correct time but end up entering menopause prematurely.
For these reasons you should constantly visit your gynecologist and perform all the tests he asks for.
2. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can accelerate the onset of menopause
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are two treatments that aim to prevent cell growth. However, they do not attack only malignant cells but also those that are healthy. For this reason, among other side effects, anticancer treatments can lead to premature loss of the ovaries, as the experts from the Spanish Association Against Cancer explain.
On the other hand, some medications can generate the so-called chemical menopause that can occur regardless of how old you are. An example is the use of a drug commonly indicated for cases of endometriosis. Remember that if you have questions or have any symptoms of menopause, it is important that you speak with your doctor. Ask and understand all the side effects of the treatments you receive.Read:5 benefits of walking
3. Surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus
Surgical removal of both ovaries causes immediate menopause. A woman’s cycles stop after surgery, and hormones drop rapidly. Serious menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and loss of sex drive are commonly experienced.
Some women have a hysterectomy to remove the uterus but keep their ovaries. These patients do not go into menopause immediately because the ovaries continue to make hormones. The only thing they will notice is that, because their uterus was removed, they will no longer have menstrual cycles and will not be able to get pregnant.
4. Drugs and toxins
The use of drugs and toxins is the most common cause of early menopause. To be more exact, the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes is related to the ovaries’ wear.
On average, these women reach menopause at least two years earlier than those who do not smoke or drink alcohol. For this reason, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption is very important.
- Practicing physical exercise also promotes health and helps the ovaries reach normal hormonal levels.
- It is noteworthy that the birth control pills are not related to the early onset of menopause.
Women with epilepsy may experience decreased sex drive and fertility problems. This problem also leads to a constant change in estrogen and progesterone proportions so that patients with epilepsy reach menopause before the specified time.Read:Know the symptoms of cardiac arrest
This may be due to the effects of seizures in brain spaces that regulate reproductive hormones. Estrogen favors seizures, and progesterone protects you from them. Thus, a logical explanation is that estrogen increases are generated relative to progesterone when these attacks occur.
6. Autoimmune diseases
The onset and development of autoimmune diseases cause the body to produce antibodies that begin to attack the tissues and ovaries, as well as estrogen receptors. All this causes a degeneration of the ovaries and the arrival of menopause.
Thyroid disease and diabetes are present in 20% of early menopause cases. That is why you must follow your treatments to the letter if you suffer from one of these.
There is also an association with non-endocrine autoimmune diseases, such as vitiligo.
Prepare for menopause
By taking certain precautions and following your doctor’s recommendations, you can prepare yourself to live this new stage of life in the best possible way, even when it has been anticipated.
So, the first thing you should do is tell the specialist what would be the most advisable for your case (in terms of nutrition, exercises, etc.). Then, it will be up to you to apply the necessary measures to provide yourself with health and well-being.
And remember, whenever you have any questions, consult your doctor.1
- Ceylan, B., & Özerdoğan, N. (2015). Factors affecting the age of onset of menopause and determination of quality of life in menopause. Turkish journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 12 (1), 43-49. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5558404/
- Jehan S, et al. (2017). Sleep, melatonin, and the menopausal transition: What are the links? DOI: 10.5935 / 1984-0063.20170003