The transition into menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Yet, in some cases, menopause can occur before the age of 40, and this is known as premature menopause. There are a variety of reasons that can cause your body to enter an early menopause, read on to learn about these.

What Causes Premature Menopause?

  • Ovarian failure - If a woman's ovaries stop producing normal levels of certain hormones, particularly oestrogen, then early menopause can naturally occur. This condition is also referred to as primary ovarian insufficiency, and its cause is often unknown. However for some women, it can be caused by; chromosome abnormalities; autoimmune disease; or infections such as malaria and mumps. The condition can also run in families.
  • Cancer treatment - Radiotherapy or chemotherapy can cause temporary or permanent premature ovarian failure.
  • Surgery - The removal of the ovaries will cause early menopause. Visit Surgical Menopause to learn more.

What are the Symptoms of Premature Menopause?

The symptoms that you may experience with early menopause are extremely similar to regular menopausal symptoms. However, the main indication of premature menopause is an infrequency in periods, or a complete halt in periods altogether without any other reason (such as pregnancy).

Difficulty sleeping is a common symptom of premature menopause

Typical early menopausal symptoms include:

  • Night sweats
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hot flushes
  • Low sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Discomfort during sex

How To Treat Premature Menopause?

Once your GP has diagnosed early menopause based on your symptoms, family history, and hormone levels, you may be referred to a specialist for treatment. Treatment options may include:

  • Combined contraceptive pill - To make up for your missing hormones
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - To replace hormone deficiencies

Visit Menopause Treatment to learn more about what you can do to relieve menopausal symptoms.


NHS (2017) Early Menopause [online]. NHS [viewed 31/08/2018]. Available from