New research demonstrated that women who encounter premature menopause are approximately three times more prone to trigger chronic issues in their 60s in comparison to women who experience the menopause at the ages of 50 or 51.
The study had as subjects 5,107 women aged 45 to 50 in 1996, and who were strictly observed until 2016. The research was published in the journal Human Reproduction.
Premature Menopause Triggers Various Health Issues
Scientists at the Center for Longitudinal and Life Course Research at the University of Queensland, Brisbane in Australia, researched women who responded to the first questionnaire in 1996 and then completed surveys every three years, until 2016.
The subjects reported whether they have been with or are being treated for the following health issues in the last three years: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, anxiety or breast cancer.
The women’s age at regular menopause was estimated as a minimum of 12 months without monthly bleeding – not the outcome of surgical interventions or so. During the 20 years of observation, 2.3 percent of women encountered premature menopause, and 55 percent developed multimorbidity, which means they had two or more of the diseases mentioned above.
In comparison to women who encountered menopause at the age of 50 or 51, women with premature menopause were twice as prone to trigger multimorbidity by the age of 60, and three times to develop it from 60 years old onwards.
Dr. Xiaolin Xu, who conducted the study and now research professor at Zhejiang University in China, said: “We found that 71% of women with premature menopause had developed multimorbidity by the age of 60 compared with 55% of women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51. Also, 45% of women with premature menopause had developed multimorbidity in their 60s compared with 40% of women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51.”
The First Study to Analyze the Link Between Multimorbidity and Premature Menopause
Professor Gita Mishra, director of the Centre and senior author of the research, said: “Our findings indicate that multimorbidity is common in mid-aged and early-elderly women. Premature menopause is associated with an increased risk of developing multimorbidity, even after adjusting for previous chronic conditions and for possible factors that could affect the results, such as whether or not the women had children, how many, education, body mass index, smoking, and physical activity.” Dr. Xu added: “We also found that premature menopause is associated with a higher incidence of individual chronic conditions.”
The scientists say they estimate that this is the first research to analyze the association between premature menopause and the apparition of multimorbidity. “Our findings suggest that health professionals should consider providing comprehensive screening and assessment of risk factors when treating women who experience natural premature menopause to assess their risk of multimorbidity,” said Professor Mishra.
“Our findings also highlight that multimorbidity should be considered as a clinical and public health priority when policy-makers are considering how to control and prevent chronic health problems in women.”
The paper doesn’t depict that premature menopause triggers the development of multimorbidity, but that there is a correlation. A limitation of the research is that the scientists relied on self-reported data from the women involved in the study.