6 Factors that Accelerate the Onset of Menopause
Although there are certain genetic aspects that you can’t control, there are other external factors that can influence the early onset of menopause and should be taken into account.
The age of the onset of menopause is predetermined from birth, meaning it’s impossible to delay it. However, there are certain external factors that can hasten its appearance. While it’s not within your abilities to alter your genetic code, you can protect yourself and avoid certain harmful habits.
Globally, the average age women start menopause is between 50 and 51 years old. Only one in 100 women enter menopause during their 40s. In this sense, this can happen if you have poor lifestyle habits and introduce certain elements that speed up the onset of menopause.
Do you want to know what things you shouldn’t do because they’ll affect you? Read on to discover them!
1. Chromosomal defects
Genetic problems that are linked to the sex chromosome X, like Turner syndrome and fragile X chromosome syndrome, can accelerate the onset of menopause.
Women who have defective ovaries can suffer from these conditions. They contain fewer healthy follicles.
Genetic causes are usually diagnosed when women are very young, most often well before they reach puberty.
There may be some cases of women who develop normally and start menstruation at the right age but wind up going through menopause prematurely.
For these reasons, you should always visit your gynecologist and get any tests they suggest done.
See also: What is pelvic inflammatory disease?
2. Radiation therapy and chemo can accelerate the onset of menopauseThese two treatments are intended to prevent the growth of cells. They not only attack malignant cells but also healthy ones. This is why cancer treatments can lead to premature loss of ovarian function.
On the other hand, there are medications that can trigger menopause regardless of your age. One example of this is a drug that’s commonly used for severe cases of endometriosis.
Remember that if you have questions or are experiencing any symptoms of menopause, you need to talk to your doctor. Ask them about all the side effects of any medications you’re taking and make sure you understand them.
3. Surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus
Surgical removal of both ovaries causes you to immediately start menopause. A woman’s cycles stop after this surgery and hormone levels decrease rapidly. After this surgery, you experience severe symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and a loss of sexual desire.
Some women undergo a hysterectomy to remove their uterus but keep their ovaries. These patients don’t enter menopause immediately because the ovaries continue to produce hormones. The only thing they’ll notice is that they’ll stop having periods and won’t be able to get pregnant.
4. Drugs and toxinsThe most common cause of early menopause is the intake of drugs and toxins. Coming into contact with pesticides, alcohol, and tobacco products is related to ovarian damage.
Women who smoke and drink are at an increased risk of early menopause. On average, these women start menopause two years earlier than non-smokers and non-drinkers.
For that reason, quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption is very important. Doing physical exercise also helps your ovaries maintain normal hormone levels.
It’s important to note that the use of birth control pills isn’t related to the onset of menopause.
Women who have epilepsy may experience a decreased sex drive and fertility problems. This condition causes constant changes in the proportions of estrogen and progesterone. This means that patients with epilepsy will reach menopause earlier.
This could be related to the effects of the seizures on areas of the brain that regulate reproductive hormones. Estrogen promotes seizures, while progesterone protects you from them. A logical explanation, therefore, is that seizures raise estrogen levels.
6. Autoimmune diseases
The emergence and development of autoimmune diseases make your body produce antibodies that attack its own tissues and ovaries, as well as estrogen receptors. All of this triggers the degeneration of the ovaries and the onset of menopause.
Thyroid diseases and diabetes are present in 20% of cases of early menopause. If you suffer from one of these, it’s important to follow your treatment.
There’s also an association with endocrine system autoimmune disorders such as vitiligo, anemia, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and chronic hepatitis, among others. Pelvic infections that attack the ovaries can also be a cause.
We recommend you read: 10 signs of diabetes you shouldn’t ignore
Preparing yourself for menopauseMenopause signals the end of your reproductive life. There are cases where women have started menopause at the age of 20.
We’ve already mentioned six factors that can accelerate the onset of menopause. Some of them are controllable or avoidable, but others may simply just happen to you. We recommend you lead a healthy lifestyle, tend to your health, and focus on the things you can control.