Mercy Gynecologist, Dr. Meghan Lynch, Addresses Premature Menopause
The average age for natural menopause is 51, but sometimes it can occur much earlier for a number of reasons.
According to Dr. Meghan Lynch of The Institute for Gynecologic Care at Mercy Medical Center, when one of her patients goes into early menopause, it can be devastating.
"The ability to be a mother, the idea that that might be pulled away from them, that is very, very hard. So that can be a very hard diagnosis to get," Dr. Lynch said.
Premature menopause happens before the age of 40.
"It can happen surgically if your ovaries are removed. It can happen from chemotherapy, but sometimes it happens, we call it primary ovarian insufficiency -- where the ovaries stop producing eggs you can stop getting your periods and that happens earlier than normal," Dr. Lynch said.
Genetics can play a big factor, too.
That's what happened to patient Sarah Malloy. She's now 64, but got the news she was going into menopause in her 30s.
"My mom went through it early. She told me when I talked to her about it. She said, 'Wait for the hot flashes to start.' I never had hot flashes. I was never irritable," Malloy said.
For Malloy, there were no complications or health problems, but Lynch said there can be, which is why she said if a woman has missed three periods to contact their doctor.
"Your ovaries make some very important hormones for your bones, for your heart and just general well-being," Dr. Lynch said.
While there is nothing they can do to stop it or slow it down, there are medications to help with symptoms.
View Mercy Medical Center gynecologist Dr. Meghan Lynch’s interview regarding early or premature menopause.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.