Predicting the age at which women will reach menopause may not be 100% certain, but still, at least getting an idea will be very useful for many of us so that we can start planning supplements to take, make changes to the exercises we normally do, and read up about HRT for starting that conversation with our doctor.
Now, a new study recently published in the journal “Menopause” by the North American Menopause Society, suggests specialists may be able to do that, albeit with varying degrees of accuracy, taking into account a range of indicators.
Researchers found that elevated levels of follicle-stimulating hormone and estradiol, as well as abnormal periods, are among those ones telling us a woman is nearing menopause. To further help calculate an age, scientists also took into account the woman’s lifestyle including alcohol intake, use of hormone contraceptives, smoking habits, relationship status, and physical fitness.
“This study, although conducted in a small number of women, adds to our knowledge regarding what factors are important in a prediction model for the age at which a woman will enter menopause,” Dr Stephanie Faubion of NAMS said in a statement. “Accurately predicting age at natural menopause would better inform how we counsel women regarding multiple issues, including cardiovascular risk, family planning and contraception, and management of perimenopause issues such as irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, vasomotor symptoms, and mood changes,” she continued.
One of the most accurate factors that can help predict the age women will reach menopause is when their mothers stopped having periods. Research has conclusively revealed a strong link between menopause and genetics, and there is an approximately 50% chance that we will become menopausal at the same age as our mothers or within a few years of that age.
Sometimes, we may find ourselves showing signs of menopause much earlier than our mother or other women in our family, though. This could be due to several non-genetic reasons, such as your lifestyle, diet, and physical condition.
Smoking, for instance, could lead to a faster breakdown of oestrogen in the liver, which in turn results in an earlier decline in smokers’ oestrogen levels. While some research has shown that it may cause the onset of menopause to occur around 2 years earlier than average for women who are smokers, a 2014 study suggests it may occur as many as 9 years earlier for some women who are heavy smokers.
Scientists admit that more, in-depth research is needed but these insights may be able to help doctors to make a more accurate diagnosis and help better treat menopausal symptoms.