June 3, 2011 report
Smoking fathers could lead to early menopausal daughters
According to a study published in Fertility and Sterility, men who smoke in the presence of their pregnant partner may be putting their unborn daughter at risk for early menopause by as much as a year. While other research has looked at a womans own smoking habit and that of her partner playing a role in early menopause and fertility, this is the first time exposure to smoking by an embryo has been examined.
The study, performed by Misao Fukada from the M&K Health Institute in Ako, Japan, looked at over 1,000 postmenopausal Japanese women while they were at local clinics for gynecologic exams. The woman were asked a serious of questions including such things as how old they were when they began their menstrual cycle, how old they were when they began menopause, if they or their partner smoked and if either of their parents had smoked when their mother was pregnant.
The average age for the start of menopause among the participants was 51. Results from the study showed that women who had been smokers started menopause around 14 months earlier than non-smoking women. Those women whose husbands smoked entered menopause around five months earlier. Women whose fathers smoked when their mothers were pregnant went through menopause some 13 months sooner. The study was unable to gather enough about mothers smoking while pregnant due to a lack of smoking mothers in the study.
The researchers admit that they are unsure as to whether or not the results from smoking fathers could be linked to the time while the mothers were pregnant or when the daughters were children. They also found no connection between parental smoking and the beginning of a daughters menstrual cycle.
The study showed that not enough mothers smoked during pregnancy in order to evaluate if maternal smoking contributed to early menopause. Many studies have looked at maternal smoking and the potential health risks and mothers seem to be quitting or reducing smoking during pregnancy. The hope is this study will be the first of others to show that paternal smoking during pregnancy can contribute just as much to possible health issues for the unborn child.
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