What is premature menopause?

Menopause is called "premature" if it happens at or before the age of 40--whether it is natural or brought on by medical means (induced). Some women have premature menopause because of:

  • Family history (genes)
  • Medical treatments, such as surgery to remove the ovaries
  • Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation to the pelvic area that damage the ovaries-- although menopause does not always occur

Having premature menopause puts a woman at more risk for osteoporosis later in her life. For women who want to have children, premature menopause can be a source of great distress. Women who still want to become pregnant can talk with a  Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility specialist about other ways of having children, such as donor egg programs or adoption.