Women's Health Health Center

My mother entered menopause much earlier than my own age. I still have a regular menstrual cycle and have therefore not started menopause. Is there something wrong?

  • Menopause occurs at different times for every woman. While there may be some patterns about when women start menopause, the age is not exact and cannot apply to everyone. The average age for the onset of menopause is 51, but that means many women experience menopause before and after that age. Some women start menopause in their 40s, while others don’t experience it until their late 50s. If you or your mother is a smoker, it may help to explain the difference, as smoking can cause menopause at an earlier stage in life. In addition, the difference may be explained by changes in estrogen production brought on by surgery to remove the ovaries and/or uterus.

What are some conditions that may cause a high-risk pregnancy?

  • Preeclampsia is a syndrome that involves high blood pressure, urinary protein and changes in levels of liver enzymes in the blood during pregnancy. It can affect the mother's kidneys, liver and brain. If left untreated, the condition could be fatal for both the mother and her baby. Eclampsia is a more severe form of the condition, which can lead to seizures and coma for the mother. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that only pregnant women can develop. If a woman gets diabetes while she is pregnant and has never had the condition before, it is gestational diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman who did not have diabetes before pregnancy develops high blood sugar during pregnancy. Many with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies because they follow a treatment plan from their health care professional.
  • HIV/AIDS damages cells of the body's immune system, progressively destroying the body's ability to fight off infection. Women can give HIV to their babies while pregnant, while giving birth or through breastfeeding.
  • Preterm labor is labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The baby has not yet fully developed and grown at this time, so it may be unable to survive outside of the womb. Doctors will often take steps to try to stop labor if it occurs before this time. Certain infections, a shortened cervix or previous preterm birth may heighten a woman's risk of experiencing preterm labor again.

What are some more methods of contraception besides the daily pill and condoms?

  • While condoms and the daily birth control pill are popular contraceptive devices, they are not the only options available. There are other barrier methods such as a cervical cap, which also physically prevents sperm from entering the uterus. An intrauterine device (IUD) is another option. It is a small device inserted into the uterus and is 99 percent effective in the prevention of pregnancy. One IUD can stay active in the body for up to 10 years. There are also more hormonal birth control options besides the daily pill. Skin patches, vaginal rings and implants also release hormones in a fashion similar to the daily pill. Sterilization is a choice that is non-reversible in most cases and permanently prevents pregnancy for the entirety of the woman's life.
Review Date: 
October 1, 2012
Last Updated:
September 4, 2014