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8 Risk Factors for an Early Menopause

 Every woman must go through menopause at some stage in their life, but some, unfortunately, go through it a lot earlier than normal. Even if you haven’t started experiencing hot flashes yet, the following 8 risk factors could indicate that you’re in for “the change” earlier than expected.
 
1. You’ve Had Surgery on Your Uterus or Ovaries
Symptoms of Early MenopauseUnsurprisingly, removing both ovaries causes immediate surgical menopause because they’re responsible for the release of hormones. However, the removal of just one ovary can result in a decrease in the total productions of estrogen and progesterone. When women have hysterectomies (removal of the uterus), their ovaries are often left in place to prevent menopause – but this is sometimes not enough to stave it off.
2. Your Mom Went Through Menopause Early
According to the National Institute of Aging, the average age of menopause is 51, but for some women, it can start in their forties or before. There are some genetic or inherited risk factors for early menopause. For example, one National Institute of Health study found a significant link between lower levels of ovarian reserve, as marked by the follicle-stimulating hormone, in women whose mothers went through early menopause. In fact, if your mother had early menopause, you’re six times more likely to have the same experience.
3. You Smoke or Live with Someone Who SmokesSymptoms of Early Menopause

If you’re a smoker, then you already know that it’s not good for you. Smoking can lead women to transition to menopause up to two years earlier than expected. This is because of the anti-estrogen effects of nicotine. Researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, found that women who have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lives had a 26% greater chance of going through menopause before the age of 50. Furthermore, the study also revealed that women who were exposed to the toxins of second-hand smoke on a regular basis also had a higher rate of early menopause.

4. You Had Problems Getting Pregnant

If you were diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) while going through infertility treatment, you, unfortunately, will more than likely experience early menopause. DOR means that your ovaries have fewer follicles left that will become eggs, so it will be harder to conceive and you’ll have a quicker road to menopause. If you’re still in the middle of family building, time is of the essence.

 
5. You Were Treated for Cancer
Symptoms of Early Menopause

Early menopause can be a side effect of radiation or chemotherapy for cancer. Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and pelvic radiation, often damage ovarian tissue, resulting in premature ovarian failure, thus causing menopause. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, symptoms of menopause from cancer treatments can be worse than natural menopause because the decrease in hormones happens more quickly. Furthermore, if cancer treatments don’t cause menopause right away, the damage that has already been done will lead to menopause sooner than normal.

6. You Are Very Underweight

When it comes to early menopause, not weighing enough is a greater risk factor than being overweight. Estrogen is stored in fat tissue, so being overweight increases the likelihood of having a later onset of menopause since there’s more estrogen. Being thin means that there’s less fat, and thus less estrogen, and a higher likelihood of going through early menopause.

7. You Have an Autoimmune Condition
Symptoms of Early Menopause

The very definition of autoimmune means that your body is attacking itself. Therefore, for women who suffer from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Addison’s disease, damage to their eggs by their own immune system is possible. Certain types of autoimmune diseases produce antibodies that might mistakenly attack ovarian tissue, resulting in premature ovarian failure. Some also cause harm to glands that produce hormones. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, recent studies suggest that up to 20% of women with premature ovarian failure also have an autoimmune disease.

8. You’re Very Stressed

While stress alone doesn’t cause early menopause, it might help it along. Recent research from the University of California San Francisco has shown that stress might, in fact, play a part in when a woman enters menopause. The good thing is that stress, along with smoking and weight, can be controlled.

 

Source: rd
Images: depositphotos

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