Menopause is a natural process for women that is often diagnosed after a woman’s body has ceased menstruation for 12 consecutive months. It is often accompanied by symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, and vaginal dryness. Menopause occurs when a woman’s estrogen and progesterone hormone levels naturally decline, and her ovaries no longer release an egg every month.
Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, though it may occur anywhere in their 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s.
What causes the timing of menopause?
Here are a few reasons why women are likely to experience premature or late-onset menopause:
- Premature ovarian failure occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop functioning normally before the age of 40. This can be related to genetic factors, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, viral infections, hormonal disorders and eating disorders.
- Damaged ovaries from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or any type of trauma may lead to menopause earlier than expected.
- Surgical removal of the ovaries is also a cause of premature menopause.
- Genetics and geography often determine when you reach menopause. Women with a family history of late menopause are more likely to reach menopause later in life as well. Also, women living at low altitude levels have shown to reach menopause later in life as compared to women living at higher altitude levels, though the reasons for this are still unknown.
- Thyroid disorders, because they affect estrogen levels, can have multiple effects on a woman’s reproductive system, including late onset menopause.
- Obesity causes menstrual cycles to shift, and often increases estrogen and progesterone hormone levels in older women.
- High estrogen levels are also a cause of late onset menopause. Maintaining a healthy diet, reducing antibiotic medications, avoiding plastics, and using safe household cleaners, can help many women reduce their estrogen levels.
If you’re looking for highly skilled menopause treatment in Mobile, Alabama, call Bay Area Physicians for Women at 251-344-5900. Our board-certified physicians are ready to help you manage the symptoms related to premature, natural, or late onset menopause with the care and compassion you deserve.