Causes of Postmenopause

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Hormonal imbalance can prolong symptoms during postmenopause

Postmenopause can come across as an enigmatic time of life, the first time in decades that a woman does not have the capacity to reproduce. After having gone through premenopause, perimenopause, and menopause itself, women will enter the last stage along the reproductive route: the last adjustment women need to make.

During postmenopause, hormonal fluctuations might still occur within women's bodies, sometimes prolonging symptoms. Besides hormonal causes, experts have also identified external causes. Read on to learn about the hormonal and external causes of postmenopause.

The same hormonal fluctuations that triggered the menopause process also play an important role during postmenopause.

Hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone decline naturally, leading to imbalanced levels and many uncomfortable symptoms of postmenopause. Although these fluctuations are more severe during the years leading up to menopause, they might continue in the early postmenopause years.

To learn more about the role of hormones in postmenopause, please go to the postmenopause and hormones article.

External Causes of Postmenopause

Even though hormone changes are at the very foundation of postmenopause there are a number of external factors that could throw a woman into her postmenopause years earlier in her life. These factors include:

Lifestyle habits

Smokers tend to experience menopause earlier and more severely

Women who smoke and drink heavily often go through the menopause transition earlier and with more difficulty than women who don't. On the other hand, there are also some studies suggesting that western diets, rich in hormone-treated foods, might even delay postmenopause, prolonging the duration of symptoms.


Sometimes, women who experience constant periods of stress, due to financial hardships or family disputes, for instance, may undergo the transition to postmenopause early.


Women who have both ovaries removed, due to cancer or other health concerns, will be flung into menopause and postmenopause immediately after the surgery, causing them to suffer the consequences of sudden hormone depletion.

Radiation or chemotherapy

Radiation and chemotherapy can damage the ovaries

These treatments often damage the ovaries, sometimes causing them to begin the menopause transition shortly after, or even while on therapy.

Even though the causes of postmenopause mentioned above are present throughout the menopause process, the bodily functions they might affect can differ. To learn about the postmenopause consequences on the body, visit the section about postmenopause symptoms.

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Change in bowel or bladder function and lower abdominal and leg pain are both possible symptoms of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer can also cause a number of symptoms including nausea. To prevent ovarian cancer, you should visit your doctor at least once a year and take preventative tests.

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