The age you enter menopause and your health

February 9, 2018

 

 

We at Women's Health Practice like to discuss the risks and benefits of entering menopause earlier or later. Many studies have looked at the age of menopause, after all, it is a natural process, and many women transition easily through it. But having menopause very young, or very old can have medical consequences. Although genetics is one component, having your ovaries removed is another, actually diet contributes to the age you transition from cycling into menopause.

  1. Diet can affect your age of menopause.A healthy low meat and high vegetable diet can change your age of menopause to make it come earlier according to research. If you can have an earlier menopause, you can lower your risk of breast cancer.

  2. Within certain parameters, early menopause is a benefit to women. 

  3. The age of your ovary is the determining factor as to when your menopause will begin. For most women it's a slow loss of eggs from the ovary until there are no viable eggs and the woman will formally be in menopause. Genetic factors are a big part of the determinants of whether you will go into an early or late menopause, but we have learned that many other factors influence whether a woman will have early menopause.

  4. Regardless of your age when you transition through menopause, diet can affect the symptoms. The way you transition through probably is linked to diet as well, but that has not been worked out completely. Food intake can affect both estrogen levels, and the age of menopause. High meat and high fat diet is associated with later menopause, which can be a risk for breast cancer.

  5. Abnormal menstrual periods are common in the transition to menopause.

  6. Estrogen levels control your body’s response to menopause.In perimenopause the hormones can drop precipitously, or they can wax and wane. Because of that the menopausal transition can take many forms. It has been shown in a study by researchers at the University of Sydney, Dr. Hale and her group, that the level of the hormone estrogen in the blood is directly related to why some women will have heavy bleeding, some have low libido, some have breast cancer risk, and there is a direct relationship with what your levels are. Those with higher estrogen levels, to abnormally high levels (usually around the 185-250 pmol/L level which is a lot higher than the 20-50 pmol/L levels in early menopause) can affect the age of menopause. Food intake can affect both estrogen levels, and the age of menopause. And a new study from the Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, showed that physical activity and diet showed that the highest level of exercise, and the highest consumption of polyunsaturated fat actually had both slightly earlier menopause and the lowest risk of breast cancer.

  7. To maximize your health these complex factors have to be balanced, and here’s what you need to do.. Let us know how your transition to menopause was. What sort of diet did you have, did alternations in your diet help with symptoms? Was it easy? Was the bleeding the hardest part of transition or was it something else like sleep or lack of sleep? Did hormone testing or birth control pills help you? There are so many choices to gab about but the goal is to benefit your health!

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