According to a new study, women who get their first period at an early age are more likely to develop premature menopause. As well, the study suggests that women without children are also prone to hit menopause before their 40s.
The average age for menopause is 50 and the average age for the first period is 13. However, it is not always like that. Scientists say that the age of menopause has a lot to do with the women’s reproductive history. They say that a girl whose period starts at 11 or younger is more likely to have early menopause.
“If the findings from our study were incorporated into clinical guidelines for advising childless women from around the age of 35 years who had their first period aged 11 or younger, clinicians could gain valuable time to prepare these women for the possibility of premature or early menopause,” said lead researcher Gita Mishra from Queensland in Australia.
Women without children have more risks of having premature menopause
The study was published in the Journal Human Reproduction on Tuesday. It monitored 51,540 women in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Australia, and Japan. The scientists focused on the self-reported age of the women’s first period and on how many children each one of them had.
According to the results, women who had their first period at a young age, 11 or younger, had 80 percent more risk of developing an early menopause, even before turning 40. Also, they had 30 percent higher chances of menopause between the ages of 40-44, compared to the ones who had their first menstruation between 12 and 13.
14.1 percent of the women in the study had their first period at 11 or younger, and 7.6 percent of them had early menopause
As well, they said that the risks of having premature menopause are even higher in women had their period at a young age and had no children.
Knowing the reproductive history can prevent symptoms and diseases linked to menopause
Menopause is a natural process that may come with unwanted symptoms such as hot flashes, bone loss, and fatigue. Having an early menopause can intensify these symptoms and increase the risk of having other health concerns such as polycystic ovary syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and endometriosis. Gita Mishra said that because of this, it important for women to know that early menstrual periods are a potential risk factor.
“Understanding the relationship [between first and last periods] will provide us with the opportunity to monitor or intervene as early as possible,” says lead author Gita Mishra in an email.
Alongside the age of the first period, other factors also influence menopause timing, such as the age of her mother when she reached menopause, the number of children, and the woman’s habits, such as smoking or exercising.