Women’s reproductive health is a hot topic for many reasons. Beyond the political arena, reproductive health is being studied constantly to adjust and improve recommendations for patients. One of the latest research projects on the topic reveals an interesting and important timeline for women’s reproductive health.
This recent study comes from the University of Queensland in Australia. The team set out to determine how the age of a woman’s first menstrual cycle and whether or not she had children affected the onset of menopause. The results showed that there is indeed a correlation that can help inform many women about their reproductive health.
According to the research, women who had their first period before the age of 12 and never had children were more likely to enter premature menopause (before the age of 40) or early menopause (between 40 and 44). Women who got their first period at age 12 or later and had at least two children were more likely to experience menopause closer to the average age of 50.
Overall, among the 51,000+ women that were part of the study, 2 percent entered premature menopause and 7.6 percent had early menopause. When the researchers looked at women with early first menstrual cycles and no children, the number of women who had premature menopause was 2½ times higher and the women in early menopause jumped to 9.9 percent.
Researches acknowledged that the women in the study self-reported the age of their first period, which may not be accurate in all cases. Also, environmental factors, health conditions and lifestyle habits may all contribute to the age a woman experiences menopause.
However, even with imperfections in the study, knowing some of the risk factors for premature and early menopause can help women make choices about their reproductive health and have an idea of what to expect for their future. Using this information, health care providers can make recommendations in the best interest of their patients’ reproductive health.
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