A new study has found a link between genes and early or late menopause. Researchers say genetics play a huge role in determining a woman's age at menopause.
Menopause is clinically defined as a year after a woman's final menstrual period which is generally around the age of 52 years.However, statistics show women are entering menopause at various stages in life. Some experience it early, others go through it later on in life.
Even though factors like smoking, chemotherapy, and body mass index (BMI) can contribute to early menopause, experts say family history is more likely to influence when you will go through it. That means if your mother went through menopause at an early age, chances are you may experience it too at the same age.
For the study, researchers wanted to investigate the genetic variants that cause a delay in menopause on the basis of familial longevity. The team analysed the results of several larger studies that included the Long Life Family Study, the Health and Retirement Study, and the Framingham Heart Study.
Data from these studies revealed women who were able to have babies over the age of 40 were almost four times more likely to live to be 100 or more.Researchers also found that women who could have children over 35 have a 1.5 chance of living past 100. The findings also suggest that there could be genetic mechanisms of the age of menopause that are associated with human longevity.
"Genetic variants associated with later menopause have been found to be associated with longer life. Although early menarche and total number of reproductive years have not been associated with slower ageing, later menopause (longer reproductive potential) appears to be associated with slower ageing." Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director, told a news portal.
The study's findings were originally published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).