Menopause is something that all women go through, but some women go through this life change far earlier than others. If you suspect that you might be going through early menopause (or if you’re wondering if you might), these risk factors may clue you in a bit more about premature menopause.
- Genetics. If your mother or sister went through early menopause, then chances are higher that you will, too. If you don’t have any other medical reasons to go through menopause early, it is likely simply genetics; ask your female family members when they went through the change for a clue to when you will.
- Lifestyle choices. Aside from genetics, your lifestyle choices could also encourage early menopause as well. Smoking cigarettes produces antiestrogen effects that could cause menopause to come early, and studies show that longtime smokers reach menopause one to two years sooner than those who don’t smoke. Having a lower BMI (or body mass index) could also cause early menopause, since estrogen is stored in fat tissue.
- If you suffer from epilepsy, you may also be at risk for earlier menopause. This seizure disorder often leads to premature ovarian failure, which often onsets menopause.
- Autoimmune disease. If you have an autoimmune disease such as a thyroid disorder or rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system could mistake parts of your body as invaders. Because your immune system could attack places near the ovaries and cause inflammation, it could cause early menopause.
- Chromosome defects. Those who were born with incomplete chromosomes (such as Turner’s syndrome) or with other chromosome defects that affect the ovaries, could see early menopause. While many women with this type of defect go through hormone replacement therapy in order to achieve their period as pre-teens, they may still have fertility issues. Because of these chromosome defects, you may go through early menopause as well.