Menopause in 20’s

An alarming number of women in India are getting premature menopause. The reason of premature menopause is premature ovarian failure. The causes of premature ovarian failure are idiopathic, genetic disorders like turner syndrome and fragile X syndrome, autoimmune diseases, tuberculosis of the genital tract, radiation or chemotherapy to pelvic region, hysterectomy, prolonged gonadotrophin-releasing hormone therapy, enzyme defects, resistant ovary, induction of multiple ovulation in infertility etc.In some cases, specially in India, inhibin alpha gene.

But India’s leading newspaper The Times of India’s report says something else.

Doctors are finding a drastic change in the biological clocks of women as the mean age of contracting menopause has come down to around 35 years about 10 years early than what it was a decade ago. Gynaecologists confirmed treating women entering menopause as early as in their late 20s or early 30s.

A five-year long study conducted by Sattvam, a city-based care centre for women and children, found that 432 of the 980 women covered entered menopause in the age group of 30-35 years, while 216 were between 35-40 years age. The centre has also treated 68 women, who entered menopause in the age group of 25-30 years, while 264 women were above 40 years of age.

“What is worrying is that 42% of these women are working women. Ramifications of early menopause in some cases have been so extreme that it has adversely affected their profession and in some cases their personal life too. Most of them complained of frequent mood swings, depression, anxiety and sleeplessness. All these are capable of causing many other lifestyle diseases,” said Dr Deepak Shah, a homoeopath and director, Sattvam.

Dr Gayatri Karthik, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Manipal Hospitals, said: “Entering menopause in late 20s or early 30s is not very common, but still we get about 2-3 such cases in a year. I treated a 27-year-old patient for menopause about a year ago. Urban lifestyle, increasing use of artificial reproductive techniques and stress among others can be the reasons behind this. But with science making so much of progress and techniques available for assisted reproduction women need not worry.”

I do not think urban lifestyle, working outside home, using ‘artificial reproductive techniques'(!) and stress are the reasons of having early menopause. What is in the urban lifestyle, work, reproductive techniques and stress that prevents ovaries to work? I do not find a single possible link between them.

Is this ‘research’ to discourage women to work, to use contraceptives, and to encourage child marriage?

More research should be done to find out the scientific reasons, not the unscientific or the
pseudoscientific, of women’s menopause in their 20’s.


  1. badgersdaughter says

    Not every sufferer is diabetic, but diabetes up like a rocket in India and it is also a possible cause of premature ovarian failure. I would also look at whether environmental estrogenic compounds such as BPA in plastics might play a role. Those are just a couple of thoughts that struck me while I was reading; I hope the issues is not propaganda, but something specific that can be identified and fixed.

    • minxatlarge says

      There’s a strong correlation between insulin resistance and polycystic ovary syndrome (because the rapid insulin changes appear to prompt androgen overproduction). Changes in diet (thanks Green Revolution), saturation with hormone disrupters, even accelerated shift and drift in viral systems could contribute to ovary problems too. It seems that badgersdaughter and I have been reading the same news.

      The reason that I’m moved to write is that I know (and lost) so many young people with cancer. It’s not just my rotten luck to lose friends (and family); there really are more young people dying from agressive cancers.Tissues that reproduce the fastest (gonads, milk glands, GI tract) are the most prone to develop cancer. I’m not surprised to hear that women anywhere are having problems with their ovaries (especially not in countries with serious environmental issues and limited worker protections).

      Of course it’s not helpful for OB-GYNs to blame ‘urban lifestyle’ and ‘stress’ for maladies that are more likely due to environmental degradation. Any chance for an Occupy Ovaries movement to bloom in India?

  2. Erik Jensen says

    I would not trust a homeopath for any type of medical information. Someone who doesn’t even understand basic science (Avogadro’s number) should be viewed with strong suspicion. The article doesn’t provide a link or even a reference to the study itself. Was it peer reviewed?

  3. alwayscurious says

    I wouldn’t trust a newspaper about sensational sounding science–especially when the underlying study isn’t directly quoted. Beings the clinic seems to focus on reproductive problems, one doctor’s (::shudders:: homeopath’s) experience isn’t indicative of the population as a whole. I found a paper on pubmed indicating, for one region at least, menopause timing isn’t so abnormally early. Pubmed also had a few papers about “surgical menopause” in India–alluding to the abrupt cessation of reproductive hormones after surgery. Certainly these are important topics to study, but aren’t quite as urgent nor as widespread as the TOI article would imply.

  4. Ilmana Fasih says

    As far as I have come across, there is no evidence based study done which claims that there has been a drastic reduction in the menopausal age. If there is, I would appreciate if you could share it.

    Secondly, the Sattvam is a homeopathy based clinic, who are not trained in Anatomy Physiology or Obgyn to be trained to diagnose what is menopause scientifically.

    Thirdly, TOI is not an authentic source of reporting for a medical stats. It is not a scientific medical journal.

    Hence instead of being critical of the reason given for early menopause, it is first important to criticize the credibility of their stats, and not spread panic in the public.

  5. left0ver1under says

    Is this ‘research’ to discourage women to work, to use contraceptives, and to encourage child marriage?

    Women have been doing physical labour for millennia, and it never affected their ability to have kids. The “research” reeks of pseudo-science intended to justify controlling women, or as you said, justify underage marriage (and possibly the forced rape of teen and pre-teen girls).

    If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say one of these (or probably something else):

    (1) Something chemical or environmental. The Dow Chemical disaster at Bhopal happened because Dow pushed for lower safety standards as a cost-cutting measure. There are plenty of other stories worldwide of birth defects and disease from unsafe industrial sites.

    (2) Could early puberty lead to early menopause? In the 20th century, the average age of puberty dropped in industrialized countries, but maybe it was all people worldwide, not limited to G7 nations.

    (3) Women’s bodies are reacting naturally to protect themselves. Reproductive systems can be selective (without conscious choice by women) about which sperm get to produce children, so perhaps shutting down early in life is also a natural and uncontrolled biological defense against something.

    It could be any or none of them, or be caused by something else. Things almost never have a single cause or single answer.

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