Genetics may be to blame for early, late menopause in some women

June 12 (UPI) — Any woman looking to know when she’ll reach menopause should probably ask her mother when she reached that point, a new study suggests.

In a clinical sense, menopause occurs one year following a woman’s final menstrual period — which happens, on average, around age 52 — the researchers say. However, some women experience menopause earlier or later than others, and that may be due to genetic influence, according to research published Monday in Menopause.

“Genetic variants associated with later menopause have been found to be associated with longer life,” JoAnn Pinkerton, the executive director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a press release.

Non-genetic factors like smoking, chemotherapy and high body mass index can trigger early menopause. However, if a mother transitions to menopause early, it’s likely her daughter will as well, the researchers say.

For their work, the researchers analyzed several larger studies that included data from the Health and Retirement Study, Long Life Family Study and the Framingham Heart Study. Among other findings, these studies showed that women were one and a half times more likely to live past age 100 if they gave birth to children after age 35 and four times more likely if they gave birth past age 40.

The new study was a meta-analysis looking for genetic variants linked to the age of women during menopause who went on to live long. These findings, the researchers say, point to more evidence of genetic influence on menopause. The results also suggest the age of a menopausal woman may be associated with overall longevity.

“Although early menarche and total number of reproductive years have not been associated with slower aging, later menopause (longer reproductive potential) appears to be associated with slower aging,” Pinkerton said.

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