When we hear or read about the subject of menopause, we immediately think of our moms and our grandmothers. Hardly do we ever consider the “age” for menopause and the factors that can bring it on quicker than we expect.
Menopause occurs on average at the age of 51 when the body stops naturally producing oestrogen and other sex hormones. But 51 is no longer the age for menopause. Research finds that, these days menopause can start as early as age 34 in a small percentage of women and between the ages of 40- 44 for a larger percentage.
Two factors that can bring on early onset of menopause are:
Women who have never had children are at a higher risk of falling into menopause as early as age 34. These group are 2 times more likely to have menopause before the age of 40 and twice as likely, if they started puberty before the age of 11.
One theory is that being pregnant protects against early menopause because of the hormonal impact. However there is no evidence that this is the case.
Although it makes all logical sense that starting puberty early means getting the menopause early, the age for menopause for these group of women has since moved from 44 (instead of the mean average of 51) to well below 40. This means that the earlier your body starts producing the female hormone responsible for making you into a woman, the faster it will stop production.
What to do if you face this risk?
- Check family history. Usually the older women in our family can help figure out a time-frame for menopause in the family.
- Talk to a doctor. Menopause puts women at a higher risk against illness such as heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Talking to a doctor on time will help them consider early strategies for preventing and detecting these chronic conditions.