Women whose menstraul cycles last less than 25 days are more likely to experience early menopause
Women with shorter menstrual cycles start menopause two years earlier than others and experience the most symptoms in middle age, a study shows.
Researchers led by Harvard Medical School followed 600 women ages 33 to at least 51 years old and asked them to self-report menopausal symptoms and when their cycles stopped.
Those with shorter cycles — less than 26 days — reached menopause on average at age 49, the study found, while those with normal cycles — from 26 to 34 days — reached it at about 51 years of age. Women with shorter cycles were also more likely to report symptoms such as sleep and heart problems and depression.
Scientists behind the paper said age at menopause — when the menstrual cycle stops — was a good marker of overall health. They called for more research on the topic to establish the health effects of a shorter cycle.
It comes after a doctor warned that earlier menopause could shorten a woman’s lifespan because it shifts hormone levels, accelerates decline and increases the risk of conditions like heart disease, stroke and arthritis.
The graph above shows the results of the survey. It shows that women with shorter menstrual cycles reach menopause on average at age 49, while women with normal cycles – from 26 to 34 days – reach it by age 51
Researchers led by Harvard Medical School followed 600 women, ages 33 to at least 51, and asked them to self-report menopause symptoms and when their cycles stopped (stock image)
For the study, published this week in the journal Menopausescientists recruited women within their first 22 weeks of pregnancy at clinics in Massachusetts between 1999 and 2000, asking them to report the length of their menstrual cycles.
About 72 percent of the participants were white and 80 percent had college degrees.
They were divided into three groups based on the length of their menstrual cycles; 90 women in the ‘short’ group, 505 in ‘normal’ and 39 in ‘long’ – over 34 days.
WHAT IS THE MENOPAUSE?
Menopause is defined as the changes a woman goes through just before and after she stops her period and can no longer conceive naturally.
Some women go through this time with few or no symptoms, about 60 percent experience symptoms that lead to behavioral changes, and one in four will suffer severely.
Common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness leading to discomfort during sex, disturbed sleep, decreased sex drive, problems with memory and concentration, and mood swings.
Menopause occurs when your ovaries stop producing so much of the hormone estrogen and no longer release an egg every month.
US experts say women go through menopause on average at the age of 51, although it can start when someone is anywhere between 40 and 58 years old.
About 18 years later – the middle age point – they were asked to come back to report if they had any symptoms and at what age they reached menopause.
Cycle length, symptoms, and age of menopause were self-reported, meaning they were not independently assessed by a physician.
The results showed that women with shorter cycles were about 67 percent more likely to have early menopause than those with normal cycles.
Those with longer cycles took the longest to reach menopause, at about 52 years old on average.
Women with shorter cycles also reported the most menopausal symptoms in middle age compared to the other two groups, on average.
Compared to those with normal cycles, they were 92 percent more likely to say they had sleep problems, 85 percent more likely to report depression symptoms, and 68 percent more likely to say they had heart problems.
They were also more likely to say they had exhaustion (52 percent), hot flashes (38 percent) and muscle problems (14 percent).
The study also found that women with shorter cycles were less likely to be white, have a college education, or have a household income of more than $70,000 a year.
dr. Lidia Minguez-Alarcon, the human fertility researcher who led the study, and others said: ‘We observed that women with short menstrual cycles during the reproductive years had a higher frequency of total menopausal symptoms … and an earlier age of natural menopause. in middle age.
“Using the menstrual cycle as an additional vital sign adds a powerful tool to the assessment of physical and mental health.”
Menopause is a natural part of aging, with symptoms appearing up to ten years before the cycle ends.
To relieve these symptoms, doctors recommend getting plenty of rest, eating calcium-rich foods like milk, and exercising regularly. They also say it’s important to talk to others who are going through the same thing.
But women can also be given patches to increase hormone levels that the body stops making during menopause.
It comes after an expert suggested that delaying menopause could extend a woman’s lifespan because the hormonal changes it causes lead to faster aging of the entire body.
dr. Jennifer Garrison, an award-winning scientist who directs the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, warned that the process alters the body’s hormones and causes more rapid decline.
Speaking at the Life Itself conference in San Diego, California, she said women who begin menopause in their 40s rather than around 51, the median age, are likely to age faster than their peers.
Garrison said, “By the time a woman is in her late twenties or early thirties, the rest of her tissue is functioning at peak performance, but her ovaries are already showing clear signs of aging.
“Still, most women learn about their ovaries and ovarian function when they first start using them, and find out they’re geriatric.”
She added: ‘Studies show that women who are later in menopause tend to live longer and have an improved ability to repair their DNA.
“But women who go through natural menopause before age 40 are twice as likely to die (early) compared to women who go through natural menopause between the ages of 50 and 54.”