Living in the countryside can delay the menopause by more than a year, a study suggests.
Scientists discovered that women surrounded by green space on average 16 months later due to & # 39; the change & # 39; used to go.
Researchers led by a team at the University of Bergen in Norway believe that the delay may be due to lower stress levels.
They said the study, based on data from nearly 2,000 women, was the first to look at a link between green space and menopause.
The team claims that it & # 39; broad implications & # 39; because going through the younger menopause can give women a higher risk of heart disease or bone weakness.
It comes months after other important reports found that they were living in polluted areas or working at night, that women were also more likely to stop menstruating earlier.
Women with the most plants in the 300 meters around their homes are more likely to have a later menopause and therefore possibly better long-term health, researchers claim (stock image)
Researchers from all over Europe, led by Dr. Kai Triebner from the University of Bergen, have looked at the health records of 1,955 older women over 20 years of age.
The study started in 1990 and interviewed the women again between 1999 and 2001 and 2010 and 2013.
It found that women with the most foliage in the 300 meters around their homes reached the menopause at the age of 51.7.
While those with the least amount of green can be expected to stop their period almost one and a half years earlier, at the age of 50.
Dr. Triebner's team suggested that the link contributes to two streams of previous research that have shown that higher stress levels can cause earlier menopause, and that living in more rural areas makes people less stressed.
They explained this in terms of a hormone called estradiol, which is considerably lower in women who have had the menopause, and the stress hormone cortisol.
The team wrote in their article: & # 39; Stress in humans is reflected by a high level of cortisol, which is reduced by exposure to green space.
HOW DOES STRESS AFFECT Fertility?
The link between stress and fertility or the menopause is controlled by chemicals and hormones in the body.
Regular or high levels of stress cause quantities of the hormone cortisol – known as the stress hormone – to peak.
High levels of cortisol have been found in studies to reduce how much estradiol the body produces. This is a form of the female sex hormone estrogen.
Low levels of estrogen, usually caused by natural deterioration as a woman ages and leaves fertile age, are what triggers menopause, because the sex hormone becomes so unavailable to the body that it is no longer fertile and the reproductive system starts shutting down .
Hence, higher levels of stress – which can be caused by living in busy urban areas – can lower estrogen levels faster than women with less stress and the age at which they begin the transition.
& # 39; Lower cortisol levels have in turn been associated with higher oestradiol levels, making it plausible that women with less stress, ie lower cortisol levels, can maintain higher oestradiol levels and therefore go into menopause later. & # 39;
They added that more green space is linked to a lower risk of depression, which itself is related to starting the menopause at a younger age. Pollution had little effect, the team added.
Menopause is the time when women stop releasing eggs from their ovaries and become infertile naturally – usually because they age.
It usually happens between 45 and 55 years and, although of course, it can have unpleasant side effects such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and a low sex drive, sleep problems and mood problems or anxiety.
The symptoms can begin before a woman's menstrual period actually stops and continues for years thereafter.
Dr. Triebner and his colleagues said that starting the menopause later was linked to a longer life expectancy and a lower risk of dying from heart disease or osteoporosis.
They acknowledged that women who live in greener areas can be richer and therefore have better overall health.
In the study, they used satellite images to give each woman a score based on how green the area around their house was – the participants lived in Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the UK, Sweden, Estonia, Iceland, and Norway.
These scores were compared to the age at which the women started the natural menopause, defined by not having had a 12-month period.
Other factors that influenced the timing of the end of menstruation were the weight of a woman, whether she smoked, how much exercise she did and whether she took the pill when she was younger.
A study by the University of Dalhousie in Canada found that women who work night shifts were at least nine percent more likely to have an early menopause.
In an article published in March, they suggested that this was because an irregular sleep pattern could lower estrogen levels and disrupt the function of the ovaries.
Another study, published by the University of Modena in Italy in June, showed that breathing in car exhausts could shorten a woman's fertility and cause early menopause.
Pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide can lower the anti-Mullerian hormone level in women, which is lower in those who have fewer eggs and are therefore less fertile.
Dr. Triebner and his colleagues published their work in the magazine Environment International.
LIVING NEAR BUSY ROADS & # 39; HAS THE RISK OF EARLY MENOPAUS & # 39;
Women living in areas with high pollution may be at risk of an early menopause, a study earlier this year suggested.
Researchers fear that inhaling toxic air disrupts a crucial hormone that controls the number of eggs in the ovaries.
The findings are believed to be the first to show that exposure to pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide from car fumes, & # 39; greatly reduce ovarian reserves & # 39 ;.
For the first study, Italian scientists from the University of Modena took blood tests to analyze the levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) in 1,318 women.
Low levels usually indicate that a woman has a poor ovary reserve – the number of resting immature eggs or follicles.
The levels of AMH among women, who lived in Modena in Italy between 2007 and 2017, were then compared with their addresses.
About six in ten women whose homes were on busy roads were at risk of infertility because they had a low AMH.
For comparison: the percentage of women who lived in less crowded areas was less than four in ten.
Richard Anderson, professor of clinical reproductive medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said about the findings: & although this does not suggest a short-term problem for women trying to conceive, it may indicate that women exposed to high levels of pollution have a shorter chance to start a family, and even an earlier menopause. & # 39;
It was not clear why the association existed, but exposure to high levels of PM10, PM2.5 and NO2 pollutants was thought to disrupt the body's hormone balance.
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