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Cause

Menopause is a natural part of aging. As you age, the number and quality of your eggs decline, hormone levels fluctuate, and your menstrual cycle becomes less predictable until it finally stops completely.

Causes of early menopause

Certain lifestyle choices and medical treatments can cause or are linked to an earlier menopause, including:

  • Smoking. On average, women who smoke reach menopause 1½ years earlier than those who don't. The longer you have smoked and the more you smoke, the stronger this effect is likely to be.1
  • Radiation therapy to or removal of the pituitary gland.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy or other treatment to the abdomen or pelvis that damages the ovaries so that they no longer function.
  • Genetic and autoimmune diseases.
  • Removal of both ovaries (oophorectomy), which causes sudden menopause.
  • Low body fat.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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