Natural menopause is the gradual process during which a woman's fertility decreases wrote About.com. However, not all women undergo natural menopause.
Some experience induced menopause, also called surgical menopause and/or medical menopause.
This type of menopause can happen at any age between the first and last periods. It occurs when menstrual periods stop due to medical intervention, surgical removal of both ovaries, and cancer treatments, according to the North American Menopause Society.
Surgical menopause occurs when a premenopausal woman has both ovaries surgically removed, wrote WebMD. One procedure is called a bilateral oophorectomy. Hysterectomy can sometimes, though not always, include bilateral oophorectomy.
More Magazine reported that hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus but not the ovaries, doesn’t cause menopause.
In most cases, bilateral oophorectomy is performed because of cancer, including cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, said MedicineNet.com. However, it may occasionally treat non-cancerous conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis or infections.
Another surgery that may involve the removal of both ovaries is abdominal resection, a procedure to treat colon and rectal cancer. MedicineNet.com said that while this surgery usually removes the lower colon and rectum, it can also include partial or total removal of the uterus and ovaries, as well as the vagina’s rear wall.
Another is total pelvic exenteration, which is usually only performed in cases of cervical cancer that recur despite surgical treatment and radiation said WebMD. It involves removing most of the pelvic organs, including the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, vagina, bladder, urethra, and part of the rectum.
With surgical menopause, menopause occurs abruptly, on the day of surgery, wrote More Magazine. WebMD added that women often experience more severe menopausal symptoms than if they experienced menopause naturally.
Both natural and surgical menopause are permanent, said About.com. Fertility won’t return if a woman has gone through either.
Induced menopause is also the result of medical treatments that may damage women's ovaries or suppress estrogen and progesterone levels. Chemotherapy, anti-estrogen hormone therapies and pelvic radiation treatments can cause a sudden drop in female hormone levels, resulting in menopause, wrote About.com.
MedicineNet.com cautioned however, that not all premenopausal women undergoing these procedures will experience induced menopause. Additionally, even if the ovaries are damaged, the damage isn’t always permanent.
Certain prescription drugs, like Lupron and Zoladex, can cause the female body to cease or suppress production of estrogen and progesterone, causing menopause wrote About.com.
With menopause induced by drug treatments, there may be a short transition as damaged ovaries shut down production of hormones over a period of time, said More Magazine.
This abrupt loss of ovarian hormones usually causes more drastic menopausal symptoms than those who experience natural menopause.
"FAQs- Menopause Basics." Menopause Information from the North American Menopause Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012.
Cornforth, Tracee. "Medical Menopause - What Is Medical Menopause." Women's Health Issues - Women's Health Questions and Answers - Women's Sexual Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012.
"Instant Help For Induced Menopause | Health, Beauty, Fashion, Love, Careers and more - MORE Magazine." Health, Beauty, Fashion, Love, Careers and more - MORE Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012.
"Medical Causes of Menopause." MedicineNet.com. MedicineNet, Inc., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012.
"Medical Causes of Menopause: Surgical Menopause and More." WebMD - Better information. Better health. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012.
Stephan, Pam. "Medical Menopause – What is Medical Menopause." Breast Cancer - Breast Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Survival. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012.
Reviewed October 25, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith