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Causes of Premature Menopause

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How to Find Out if You Have Premature Menopause

Your doctor will ask you if you've had changes typical of menopause, like hot flashes, irregular periods, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness. Normally, menopause is confirmed when a woman hasn't had her period for 12 months in a row.

However, with certain types of premature menopause, these signs may not be enough for a diagnosis. A blood test that measures follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) can be done. Your ovaries use this hormone to make estrogen. FSH levels rise when the ovaries stop making estrogen. When FSH levels are higher than normal, you've reached menopause. However, your estrogen levels vary daily, so you may need this test more than once to know for sure.

You may also have a test for levels of estradiol (a type of estrogen) and luetinizing hormone (LH). Estradiol levels fall when the ovaries fail. Levels lower than normal are a sign of menopause. LH is a hormone that triggers ovulation. If you test above normal levels, you've gone through menopause.

Additional Information on Premature Menopause:


1. Frequently Asked Questions - Menopause and Menopause Treatments - This fact sheet discusses menopause symptoms and treatments, including postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) and the practical steps women can take to alleviate symptoms and prevent diseases like osteoporosis and heart disease.

2. Health Care and Maintenance for Women Undergoing Risk-Reducing Ovarian Surgery - This publication explains menopause symptoms and the associated health concerns for women who are considering risk-reducing ovarian surgery.

3. When Surgery Causes Menopause (Copyright © NAMS) - This fact sheet provides patient-friendly information on hysterectomy and the surgical procedures that can cause menopause.

4. Early Menopause Guidebook (Copyright © NAMS) - This booklet explains natural and premature menopause. It also lists the symptoms and treatments associated with menopause, and gives information on postmenopausal health concerns.

5. Facing Menopause and its Symptoms (Copyright © - This publication is for women who are going through premature menopause due to treatment for breast cancer. It explains menopause symptoms, how to cope with them, and what treatments are available.

6. Induced Menopause Explained (Copyright © NAMS) - This fact sheet provides patient-friendly information on induced menopause and why it may occur after chemotherapy or surgery.


  1. American Menopause Foundation
  2. Hormone Foundation
  3. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Reviewed on March 01, 2006
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