CLEVELAND— Advances in science make it possible to detect genes associated with certain medical conditions and even the timing of natural processes. A study, however, reveals that other factors can help scientists predict the age at which a woman will begin natural menopause.
In recent years, the factors influencing the age at onset of menopause have been one of the most studied areas. In terms of family planning, it is crucial to be able to determine the end of a woman’s childbearing years. This information is also valuable in identifying women who are more likely to experience early menopause and who are more vulnerable to health issues such as heart disease, depression, and even osteoporosis. Another major concern is the duration of unpleasant bleeding, which determines how the symptoms will be managed (for example, with a hysterectomy, a hormonal contraceptive, or the choice to “wait”.)
The process of menopause has been studied for years. Individual differences in the reproductive lifespan of women—in addition to the prolonged length of the menopausal transition—make it difficult to determine the age at which a woman will begin natural menopause. Previous research in this area has focused on a small number of predefined biomarkers. This current study, on the other hand, used a wide range of possible predictors to uncover characteristics influencing age at natural menopause and build models to identify it.
High levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol, abnormal periods, and symptoms of menopause, according to the study results, are significant signs that a woman is approaching menopause. When calculating the age of natural menopause, research also considers lifestyle behaviors and socioeconomic characteristics. These include alcohol consumption, use of hormonal contraceptives, smoking habits, relationship status, and physical fitness.
Although larger and more in-depth research is still needed, knowing these characteristics and a woman’s total risk level could help doctors when choosing contraceptive choices and therapies for menopausal symptoms.
“This study, although conducted on a small number of women, adds to our knowledge of important factors in a model for predicting the age at which a woman will enter menopause,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, Medical Director of North American Menopause Society (NAMS), in a statement.
“Predicting age at natural menopause accurately,” she adds, “would better inform how we counsel women on multiple issues, including cardiovascular risk, family planning and contraception, and management. perimenopausal problems such as irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, vasomotor symptoms and mood changes,”
The results of the study are published in Menopause.