CU Expert Talks to Giddy About Premature and Early Menopause

Dr. Nanette Santoro explains that women who experience premature menopause or early menopause are outliers

The average age for women in the United States to enter menopause is 51. But early menopause begins before age 40 affecting 1% of women, and premature menopause can begin between the ages of 40 and 45, affecting about 5% of women.

“Women who have menopause earlier than age 45 are outliers in that their age at menopauseGiddy logo for article on early menopause | CU OB-GYN | Denver, CO is more than two standard deviations below the norm,” said Dr. Santoro. “The early follicle loss has two basic causes: fewer follicles were present from the start—this can happen due to in utero infections that attack the egg supply or possible toxic exposures that prevent all the eggs from ever getting to the ovary in fetal life—or the existing follicles are destroyed or die off at a more rapid pace than normal.”

She noted that in an earlier study she was involved in that premature menopause included symptoms not experienced in normal menopause. “More ‘brain fog’ type complaints and more issues with fatigue and low energy, and their symptoms seem to last longer, up to 20 years,” said Dr. Santoro.

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