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 their doctors about other ways of having children, such as donor egg programs or adoption.