What Causes a Woman to Enter Menopause?

What Causes a Woman to Enter Menopause?
Menopause happens to every woman.
But why? And When?
There are many reasons a women enters menopause.
The most common is that her ovaries naturally stop working, which typically happens at a mean age of 51. Although the range is 45 to 55 years of age.
But for up to ten percent of women, menopause occurs naturally before age 45. For one percent, it occurs before age 40.
A large second reason that women enter menopause is due to surgery. Removing the uterus stops periods, but doesn’t cause menopause, though it might speed it up by a few years because the surgery to remove the uterus often disturbs the blood flow to the ovaries. Removing both ovaries, even if the uterus stays in, automatically puts a woman into menopause.
Other reasons include, medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, genetic conditions that cause the ovaries to prematurely age, or some medical diagnosis such as endometriosis can cause the ovaries to stop functioning early.
Some women have a genetic condition such as the BRCA or Breast Cancer gene that puts them at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer, as well as other cancers such as melanoma and pancreatic cancer. Those women are advised to remove their ovaries and Fallopian tubes between the ages of 35 and 40 to lower their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. That has the disadvantage of throwing them into early menopause.
The good news is that women with the BRCA gene can take estrogen without increasing their risk of breast cancer. In fact, women in menopause who have had their uterus removed and who choose to take estrogen actually have a 23% lower risk of breast cancer. I discuss this in great detail in my book, The Estrogen Fix.

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