Skip to content

    Menopause Health Center

    Select An Article

    Medical Causes of Menopause

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that is not brought on by any type of medical treatment. For women undergoing natural menopause, the process is described in three stages: perimenopause (premenopause), menopause, and postmenopause.

    However, not all women undergo natural menopause. Some women experience induced menopause as a result of surgery or medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and pelvic radiation therapy.

    Recommended Related to Menopause

    Menopause, Weight Gain, and Exercise Tips

    Menopause and weight gain: Do they always go hand in hand? It may seem that way, especially because gaining weight is so common after menopause. About 30% of women ages 50 to 59 are not just overweight, but obese. Here's what you need to know about the risks of weight gain and how exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off after menopause.

    Read the Menopause, Weight Gain, and Exercise Tips article > >

    What Is Surgical Menopause?

    Surgical menopause occurs when a premenopausal woman has her ovaries surgically removed in a procedure called a bilateral oophorectomy. This causes an abrupt menopause, with women often experiencing more severe menopausal symptoms than they would if they were to experience menopause naturally.

    Why Would Someone Have a Bilateral Oophorectomy?

    In most cases, bilateral oophorectomy is performed because of cancer, including cervical, endometrial (cancer of the uterus), and ovarian cancer. However, it may occasionally be done to treat noncancerous conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or infections.

    Which Surgeries Involve Bilateral Oophorectomy?

    Hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus) can sometimes, though not always, include bilateral oophorectomy. Hysterectomy that does not involve removal of the ovaries usually does not result in menopause. Even though menses will stop once the uterus is removed, the ovaries will probably continue to function.

    Other surgeries that may involve the removal of both ovaries include:

    • Abdominal resection. This is a surgical procedure done to treat colon and rectal cancer. While this surgery usually involves the removal of the lower colon and rectum, it can also include partial or total removal of the uterus and ovaries, as well as the rear wall of the vagina.
    • Total pelvic exenteration. This procedure is usually only performed in cases of cervical cancer that recurs despite treatment with surgery and radiation. It involves the removal of most pelvic organs, including the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, vagina, bladder, urethra, and part of the rectum.

    What Medical Treatments Can Cause Menopause?

    Medical treatments such as chemotherapy and pelvic radiation therapy can cause menopause by damaging the ovaries. However, not all premenopausal women undergoing these procedures will experience induced menopause. Additionally, even if the ovaries are damaged, the damage is not always permanent.


    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on July 13, 2014
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    woman walking outdoors
    How to handle headaches, night sweats, and more.
    mature woman holding fan in face
    Symptoms and treatments.
     
    woman hiding face behind hands
    11 ways to keep skin bright and healthy.
    insomnia
    Is it menopause or something else?
     
    senior couple
    Video
    mature woman shopping for produce
    Article
     
    Alcohol Disrupting Your Sleep
    Article
    mature couple on boat
    Article
     
    mature woman tugging on her loose skin
    Slideshow
    senior woman wearing green hat
    Article
     
    estrogen gene
    Quiz
    supplements
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections