by WV Marshall
The onset of menopause typically occurs when women are in their early 50s. Sometimes it occurs when women are in their 40s. **But on that rare occasion, it can affect teens as young as 15. **
Menopause, when it occurs before age 40 – no matter how young a woman is – is known as premature menopause. The American Pregnancy Association reports that roughly one in every 1,000 women between 15-29 years, one in every 100 women ages 30-39 are affected by premature ovarian failure, also called premature menopause.
“Premature ovarian failure is the loss of ovarian function in women under the age of 40. Women with POF do not ovulate (release an egg) each month,” the association said on its website. “This loss of function can be due to a less than normal amount of follicles or a dysfunction in the ovaries.”
A woman can be affected by premature ovarian failure at any age; before or after she has had children or while she’s planning her family, APA said. (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes the National Institutes of Health advocates the term “primary ovarian insufficiency” is preferred over “premature menopause” or “primary ovarian failure” because ovarian function is intermittent or unpredictable in many cases.)
Symptoms for premature menopause include hot flashes/flushes, mood swings, irregular or missed periods and vaginal dryness, among other symptoms associated with natural menopause.
In this video posted on the BBC website, Annabelle speaks of her thoughts and feelings when she learned she was in menopause before she could drive.