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Menopause: When Can Early Onset Occur?

From the Show: HER
Summary: Here's a "hot flash" for ya: early menopause is actually quite normal.
Air Date: 9/4/14
Duration: 10
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pamela Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Margery Gass, MD
Gass MargeryMargery Gass, MD, is a board certified gynecologist who received her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati. Working in Cleveland Clinic's Center for Specialized Women's Health, she is also the current Executive Director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner. She completed her residency training at University Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her special interests include menopause, hormone therapy, female sexual function and osteoporosis.
Menopause: When Can Early Onset Occur?
Menopause occurs when your ovaries significantly decrease in the amount of estrogen production, the hormone that controls the reproductive cycle. 

Most women dread going through menopause, due to the associated symptoms. Women typically think that menopause begins in your 50s. When women experience early onset in their 40s, they are oftentimes caught off guard.

Well, here's a "hot flash" for ya: early menopause is not abnormal. 

Premature menopause, which is also referred to as primary ovarian insufficiency, is when a woman has the complete cessation of her periods before the age of 40. 

Margery Gass, MD, is the executive director of the North American Menopause Society. In this segment, she explains how can you ease into the transition of early menopause. 

Causes of Early Menopause:
  • Genetics. A mutation in the BRCA gene, which puts women at high risk of breast or ovarian cancer, can cause early onset.
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking.
  • Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
  • Chromosome defects.
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can interfere with human hormones in the body (i.e. pesticides and plasticizers).
  • Autoimmune disease.
  • Epilepsy. Studies have found that women with epilepsy are more likely to experience premature ovarian failure (POF), which leads to menopause.
  • Parkinson's disease.
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