“Menopause, whether natural or induced, is called
premature when it happens at age 40 or younger.
This occurs in about 1% of women in the United States”.1

Umbrella
What may the Premature Menopause Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Menopause Before 40
  • Premature Menopause
  • Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
  • Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

Premature Menopause and Early Menopause

Is premature menopause the same as early menopause?Early MenopausePremature Menopause

In Later Years (Around 50 Years and Over): Menopause and Post Menopause Health – Early and Premature Menopause the (Scottish) NHS Inform explain:

“Menopause before the age of 45 is called early menopause. Menopause before the age of 40 is called premature menopause”.2

Terminology

Are premature menopause, premature ovarian failure and/or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) the same?

In What Is POI: Premature Ovarian Insufficiency the (United Kingdom) Daisy Network explain:

“Premature menopause, premature ovarian failure and/or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) are terms that are generally used to describe the same condition, whatever the cause. The words are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing at first. There is no internationally agreed wording, however the newer term for the condition is premature ovarian insufficiency, which may describe it more accurately as the ovaries may not have irreversibly ‘failed’ and premature ovarian insufficiency has important differences from the ‘normal’ menopause which occurs at an average age of 51”.3

Premature Menopause

What is premature menopause?

DotS the definition of premature menopause may vary. The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s (JH) definition is:

Premature Menopause“Premature menopause is when your final period happens before the age of 40 years”.4

The North American Menopause Society’s (NAMS) definition is:

“A. Menopause, whether natural or induced, is called premature when it happens at age 40 or younger. This occurs in about 1% of women in the United States”.5

Premature Ovarian Failure

What is premature ovarian failure (POF)?

DotS the definition of POF may vary. In Spontaneous Premature Ovarian Insufficiency: Definitions and Epidemiology the Australasian Menopause Society (AMS) explain:

“Menopause occurring between 40-45 years of age is called early menopause, with spontaneous early menopause affecting approximately 12% of women”.6

Premature Ovarian Insufficiency

What is premature ovarian insufficiency (POI)?

DotS the definition of POI may vary. In Menopause Before 40 and Spontaneous Premature Ovarian Insufficiency the AMS elaborate on:

“Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) is a loss of function of the ovaries in women who are less than 40 years of age. The ovaries do not release eggs regularly and do not produce usual amounts of oestrogen.

Women with spontaneous POI have irregular or no menstrual periods. Women may or may not have menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes.

Up to 4% of women will spontaneously have POI and enter menopause before the age of 40. Spontaneous early menopause (menopause between 40 and 45 years) affects approximately 12 in every 100 women.7

In Primary Ovarian Insufficiency: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the (United States) Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

“Primary ovarian insufficiency occurs when the ovaries stop functioning as they should before age 40. When this happens, your ovaries don’t produce typical amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly. This condition is also called premature ovarian failure and often leads to infertility”.8

Premature Menopause and POI

How is premature menopause different from POI?

In Primary Ovarian Insufficiency: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the Mayo Clinic note:

“Primary ovarian insufficiency is sometimes confused with premature menopause, but these conditions aren’t the same. Women with primary ovarian insufficiency can have irregular or occasional periods for years and might even get pregnant. But women with premature menopause stop having periods and can’t become pregnant”.9

In Primary Ovarian Insufficiency: Summary – What Is Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)? the (United States) MedlinePlus explain:

“POI is different from premature menopause. With premature menopause, your periods stop before age 40. You can no longer get pregnant. The cause can be natural or it can be a disease, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. With POI, some women still have occasional periods. They may even get pregnant. In most cases of POI, the cause is unknown”.10

Menopause and POI

How is menopause different from POI?

In Premature and Early Menopause: Terminology – Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) the JH explain:

“When periods stop spontaneously, either prematurely or early, this is referred to as ‘primary ovarian insufficiency’ (POI).

POI is not the same as menopause at the expected age because there is a small possibility that ovarian function may spontaneously resume, whereas this does not happen after expected menopause. Spontaneous pregnancy may occur, especially after the diagnosis has been made, in up to one in 50 women”.11

Premature Menopause Symptoms

Are the symptoms of premature menopause the same as for menopause?

Yes and no. In Premature and Early Menopause: Symptoms of Premature & Early Menopause the JH explain:

“Symptoms of premature and early menopause are like those you would experience if you reached menopause at the expected age of 51–52 years, but symptoms can often be more severe due to the sudden change in hormone levels”.12

In Menopause FAQS: Premature, Early, and Induced Menopause – Q. I’m Only 36 Years Old, and I’ve Already Reached Menopause. What Specific Menopause Information Do I Need? the NAMS note:

“A. Women experiencing premature menopause that is not medically induced go through perimenopause and may have the same symptoms as women with natural menopause, including hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and vaginal dryness. However, compared with women who reach menopause at the typical age, women who experience premature menopause—whether natural or induced—spend more years without the benefits of estrogen and are at greater risk for some health problems later in life, such as osteoporosis and heart disease”.13

Premature Menopause Cause

What causes premature menopause?

According to the NAMS:

“Premature menopause that is not induced can be genetic, metabolic, autoimmune, or the result of other poorly understood conditions”.14

Hormone Therapy

What is one of the highlights about premature menopause included in the 2022 Hormone Therapy Position Statement of the North American Menopause Society?

On page one in The North American Menopause Society Releases Its 2022 Hormone Therapy Position Statement, published 07 July 2022, one of the highlights is:

  • “Women with primary ovarian insufficiency and premature or early menopause have higher risks of bone loss, heart disease, and cognitive or affective disorders associated with estrogen deficiency. It is recommended that hormone therapy can be used until at least the mean age of menopause unless there is a contraindication to its use”.15

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have premature menopause or POI or POF?

If you think you have premature menopause or POI or POF, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The NAMS note:

“A. …You may need a complete evaluation to diagnose the reason for your menopause—it could be an underlying condition that needs treatment”.16

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Premature Menopause?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

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Sources

  1. Menopause FAQS: Premature, Early, and Induced Menopause – Q. What Is Premature or Early Menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-premature-early-and-induced-menopause Accessed: 14 November 2022
  2. Early and Premature Menopause. Last Updated: 20 October 2022. NHS Inform https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/sexual-and-reproductive/the-menopause/overview-of-the-menopause/early-and-premature-menopause Accessed: 14 November 2022
  3. What Is POI: Premature Ovarian Insufficiency. Daisy Network  https://www.daisynetwork.org/about-poi/what-is-poi/ Accessed: 14 November 2022
  4. Premature and Early Menopause: What Is Premature & Early Menopause? Last Updated: 08 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/premature-early-menopause/ Accessed: 14 November 2022
  5. Menopause FAQS: Premature, Early, and Induced Menopause – Q. What Is Premature or Early Menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-premature-early-and-induced-menopause Accessed: 14 November 2022
  6. Spontaneous Premature Ovarian Insufficiency: Definitions and Epidemiology. Content Updated: September 2020. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/742-spontaneous-premature-ovarian-insufficiency Accessed: 23 August 2022
  7. Menopause Before 40 and Spontaneous Premature Ovarian Insufficiency Content Updated: October 2020. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/health-info/fact-sheets/menopause-before-40-and-spontaneous-poi Accessed: 23 August 2022
  8. Primary Ovarian Insufficiency: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 27 October 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premature-ovarian-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20354683 Accessed: 14 November 2022
  9. Primary Ovarian Insufficiency: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 27 October 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premature-ovarian-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20354683 Accessed: 14 November 2022
  10. Primary Primary Ovarian Insufficiency: Summary – What Is Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)? Last Updated: 05 May 2021. MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/primaryovarianinsufficiency.html Accessed: 14 November 2022
  11. Premature & Early Menopause: Terminology – Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI). Last Updated: 05 August 2022 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/premature-early-menopause/ Accessed: 23 August 2022
  12. Premature and Early Menopause: Symptoms of Premature and Early Menopause. Last Updated: 08 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/premature-early-menopause/ Accessed: 14 November 2022
  13. Menopause FAQS: Premature, Early, and Induced Menopause – Q. I’m Only 36 Years Old, and I’ve Already Reached Menopause. What Specific Menopause Information Do I Need? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-premature-early-and-induced-menopause Accessed: 14 November 2022
  14. Menopause FAQS: Premature, Early, and Induced Menopause – Q. What Is Premature or Early Menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-premature-early-and-induced-menopause Accessed: 14 November 2022
  15. The North American Menopause Society Releases Its 2022 Hormone Therapy Position Statement. 07 July 2022:1. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/ht-position-statement-release.pdf Accessed: 14 November 2022
  16. Menopause FAQS: Premature, Early, and Induced Menopause – Q. I’m Only 36 Years Old, and I’ve Already Reached Menopause. What Specific Menopause Information Do I Need? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-premature-early-and-induced-menopause Accessed: 14 November 2022
Topic Last Updated: 14 November 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 14 November 2022

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