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.