Factors Effecting Menopause

The age you experience menopause varies and there are various factors, which may determine the age you have your last ever period; although the average age is 51 years old, some people experience symptoms a lot earlier or later. Genetics and lifestyle factors are the main indicators for menopause age.

Genetics

Genetics is the main indicator when it comes to predicting the age you go through menopause and you should look at the age your mother and her sisters and mother went through menopause to give you a good idea of the age you can expect to experience your last period. It is worth noting that it is possible to for women to go through the menopause unusually early and if this is the case, it may be the result of a genetic mutation and it will not necessary happen to you; this is particularly likely if your mother went through early menopause, but her sisters and her mother were an average age.

Lifestyle factors

The lifestyle choices you make may affect the age you go through menopause and this is particularly true when it comes to smoking. Smoking causes damage to the ovaries and can result in an increased risk of early menopause; if you smoke and your mother doesn't smoke, it is likely that your menopause will be earlier than hers and vice versa.

General health and medical history

If you have had surgery on your ovaries or you have undergone chemotherapy treatment, this can increase the risk of earlier menopause; the more procedures you have that involve the ovaries, the higher risk of damage. In the case of chemotherapy, treatments often used for younger women tend to be slightly toxic and this can damage the ovaries; in many cases, the menstrual cycle stops during chemotherapy treatment and it may not always restart once treatment has been completed.

Ethnic origin

Studies show that your ethnicity may have a bearing on your menopausal age; women from Hispanic and African-American backgrounds, for example, tend to go through menopause a little earlier than women with Caucasian heritage; Chinese and Japanese women tend to experience the menopause a little later. The difference in averages tends to be fairly minor.

In contrast, there are also factors, which are proven to have no bearing on the age you go through menopause and these include:

  • when you started your periods
  • whether or not you have had children
  • whether or not you breastfed your children
  • whether or not you used the contraceptive pill; some people assume that using methods, which prevent ovulation, may contribute to early menopause, but this is not the case because the follicular stage still takes place

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