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Most cases of POI occur spontaneously without an identifiable cause.But the condition may develop in association with certain genetic disorders, autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks the ovaries, and even some infections, such as mumps.Menopause is preceded by a transitional period called perimenopause, which lasts about 4 years, on average.If you're still menstruating and experience occasional hot flashes, you might have entered your perimenopausal years.Women normally experience menopause -- defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 consecutive months -- between age 45 and 55.It occurs because the number of immature eggs in your ovaries, called ovarian follicles, are depleted to a critically low level.The physiological processes that lead to hot flashes are complicated and not completely understood.Your body temperature is tightly regulated and coordinated by a structure in your brain called the hypothalamus.
Most young women don't give it a second thought, filing it away as something that just happens to older women.
So, when a hot flash first happens to you, it can be rather frightening -- especially if you are relatively young.
While loss of normal ovarian function is one of the most common causes of hot flashes, similar symptoms can develop with use of certain medications, alcohol consumption, as well as medical conditions such as endocrine disorders, cancer and cancer treatments, and rare tumors.
Declining estrogen levels during perimenopause and early menopause are key to hot flashes during these times of a woman's life.
You are at risk for early menopause if there is a history of it in your family.
Alternatively, if you're aged 40 to 45 and your periods have stopped, you may be experiencing early menopause with typical menopausal symptoms.