Friday, February 18, 2011

Are there any risk factors for perimenopause?

While all women undergo menopause, not all women will have obvious symptoms of perimenopause. In some unlucky women, the symptoms of menopause may be much earlier than expected. It is now believed that there are certain risk factors that predispose women to early menopause. These factors include:

Smoking has been shown to develop symptoms of menopause by at least 1-2 years earlier in women who smoke, compared to women who do not. This is true in women who have been smoking for at least 5-7 years or longer. Discontinuing smoking may sometimes help revert back the timing of menopause.

Women who have a family history of premature menopause also tend to develop symptoms of menopause early. The exacts genetic linkage between family history and age of menopause remains unknown.

Women who have never had a baby generally tend to have early menopause compared to women who have delivered babies. Even one baby has an influence on the age of menopause onset.

Women who have had any type of prior treatment for cancer, such as radiation or chemotherapeutic drugs also tend to have early menopause. This is most likely due to the loss of capability of the ovary to release fertilized eggs

Finally, the last group of women who also tend to have early symptoms of menopause are those who have had a hysterectomy for whatever reason. Once a hysterectomy is performed, the uterus and ovaries are removed and the female is no longer able to bear children and menopause is usually much earlier.

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