Early Menopause

Although menopause is a natural event in reproductive life, for 15-20% of women, menopause occurs earlier than expected and often as a result of medical treatment. Through our extensive research and stakeholder engagement, we found that the greatest gaps in menopause lie in the increasing proportion of women with early menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency. Premature ovarian insufficiency, defined as loss of ovarian function before age 40 years, occurs spontaneously in 1% of women. Early menopause, defined as menopause occurring before age 45 years, occurs spontaneously in 5% of women. However, these are increasing, due to medically induced causes (e.g. surgical removal of both ovaries, chemotherapy or radiotherapy in breast and other cancers), affecting one-third of cancer treated women and 8-11% of childhood cancer survivors. More effective cancer therapies are seeing more cancer survivors with early menopause, with evidence suggesting prevention is possible. In this increasingly common, neglected and under-supported condition, this research stream will address priorities of women arising from our early menopause patient experience studies. This research will advance understanding on prevalence, cause, biomarkers and natural history with new cohorts and collaborations; and outputs will be integrated into guidelines.

The CRE WHiRL research stream Early Menopause is led by Professor Martha Hickey and Associate Professor Amanda Vincent

The CRE WHiRL research stream Early Menopause is led by Associate Professor Amanda Vincent

(If you would like further information about a research topic please contact the relevant project lead.)

Menopause is a natural event in reproductive life. Through our extensive research and stakeholder engagement, we found that the greatest gaps in menopause lie in the increasing proportion of women with early menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency, estimated to include 15-20% of women. Premature ovarian insufficiency, defined as loss of ovarian function before age 40 years, occurs spontaneously in 1% of women. Early menopause, defined as menopause occurring before age 45 years, occurs spontaneously in 5% of women. However, these are increasing, due to medically induced causes (e.g. surgical oophorectomy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy in breast and other cancers), affecting one-third of cancer treated women and 8-11% of childhood cancer survivors. More effective cancer therapies are seeing more cancer survivors with early menopause, with evidence suggesting prevention is possible. In this increasingly common, neglected and under-supported condition affecting 15-20% of Australian women, this research stream will address priorities of women in early menopause patient experience studies. This research will advance understanding on prevalence, cause, biomarkers and natural history with new cohorts and collaborations; and outputs will be integrated into guidelines.