Early menopause also called premature ovarian failure, or primary ovarian insufficiency
can happen naturally, or as a side effect of some treatments.
It happens naturally if a persons ovaries stop making normal levels of certain hormones, particularly the hormone oestrogen.
Radiotherapy & chemotherapy can cause premature ovarian failure (either temporarily or permanently)
Surgically removing both ovaries will also bring on premature or early menopause.
The main symptom of early menopause is periods becoming infrequent or stopping altogether without any other reasonable explanation - but symptoms may be experienced while you are still having periods and they may fluctuate and get worse as periods become less frequent
Discomfort during sex
Low mood or anxiety
Reduced sex drive (libido)
Problems with memory and concentration (brain fog)
No periods after stopping the oral contraceptive pill
Aches and pains
Lack of energy
May be menopausal hormone therapy or the combined oral contraceptive pill “the pill” and is recommended at least until the expected age of menopause (about 50-52 years) to maintain health and wellbeing, including preventing osteoporosis and heart disease, and maintaining vaginal and urinary health (all of which can be affected by early menopause).
MHT or the pill can have side effects.
Risks commonly associated with MHT or the pill include a small increase in the risk of thrombosis.
There are circumstances where MHT or the pill should not be used (for example, in women with a strong history of breast cancer).