Adolescent childbirth associated with early menopause and hysterectomy

June 11, 2018, International Menopause Society

A new study has shown that women who gave birth as adolescents tend to have a greater chance of an early menopause or a hysterectomy. The study, which looked at reproductive histories of women from several countries and income groups, is presented at the World Congress of Menopause in Vancouver.

There is increasing evidence that early life experiences can impact what happens in later life. It is also known that reaching menopause at a later age is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and increased lifespan. However, little has been known about which associations are culture specific, and which are more generally applicable to women worldwide.

To test this, a group of researchers led by Dr. Catherine Pirkle (Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa) and Dr. Maria Velez (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario) looked at data from the International Mobility in Aging Study, a Canadian-led study, which looked at women's health in Albania, Colombia and Brazil, as well as Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

The study looked at the health histories of 1047 women, and found significant variation: just 29 percent had reached an early menopause (menopause by 45 years old) in Albania, as opposed to 41 percent in Colombia. Most of these women had had a hysterectomy (around half of women reporting an early age at menopause also had a hysterectomy, compared to less than a quarter of women with later ages at menopause ). Women from the poorer countries of Brazil and Colombia also reported high rates of early natural menopause (>30 percent) compared to the other wealthier sites (around 20 percent or less), which suggests faster reproductive aging at these poorer study sites.

However, those women who reported social adversity in childhood were around 56 percent more likely to have had an early reported menopause (OR=1.56, p=0.04), and this was true across the countries studied. In addition, women who gave birth under the age of 20 were around 64 percent more likely to have had a hysterectomy than women who gave birth later (OR=1.64, p=0.01). The result was identical when they looked at hysterectomy plus oophorectomy (e.g. hysterectomy plus removal of the ovaries). These findings took into account many other factors that might also explain a relationship between these variables and early menopause.

In women who did not have a hysterectomy, these associations disappeared. See below for results.

Lead researcher, Catherine Pirkle said:

"This work shows that things that happen to you when you are young can affect your health many years later, including when you commence menopause. It shows that giving birth early is linked with an increased rate of hysterectomy. It also shows that having a difficult childhood increases the chance of an early menopause, across a range of cultural and financial settings.

This is important for health in later life. We know that reaching menopause at a later age is associated with better quality of life, and better health outcomes in women. This work implies that early birth or a difficult childhood may be storing up problems which only come out half a lifetime later".

Commenting, World Congress on Menopause Scientific Programme Committee Chair, Professor Nick Panay (Imperial College, London) said:

"This study demonstrates possible associations between early childbirth and hysterectomyandbetween difficult childhood andearlymenopause. If these associations are confirmed these are of great importance because this has implications for future fertilityaspirations, but also for health implications, if early menopause is notadequately treatedwith hormone therapy."

"In women with early menopause, quality of life, metabolic, bone, cardiovascular,cognitive health and life expectancy can be adversely affectedif adequate hormone therapy is not used at least until the average age of menopause."

"The information from this study canbe used to counsel women withearly childbirth anddifficult childhood about their potential risks. This will empower themto optimise theirgeneral and reproductivehealth."

Professor Panay was not involved in this research.

Results

  • 348 of the 1047 women in the study reported reaching the menopause before the age of 46.
  • 112 women in the sample also reported experiencing social adversity (which was defined as experiencing two or more of the following: parental drug/alcohol abuse, witnessing family violence, or being physically abused), and 47 of these women (42 percent) had an early menopause. This compares with just 34 percent of the women who had not experienced social adversity who reported an early menopause (unadjusted p-value = 0.078).

The situation was also reflected in women who had a child early. 43 percent of women who had a child while under the age of 20 also had an early (92 women in the total study). This compares with just 33 percent of who had a child later and then went on to have an (unadjusted p-value 0.012)

The authors note that the study shows association, rather than cause and effect, and that this is a secondary analysis of data from the IMIAS (meaning that the study was not specifically designed to look at this association).

Explore further: Weight plays a role in menopause age

Related Stories

Weight plays a role in menopause age

March 9, 2018
Being underweight or overweight could affect the age at which women experience menopause, a University of Queensland study has found.

Underweight women are at greater risk of early menopause

October 26, 2017
Underweight women and women who were underweight as teenagers or in their mid-30s are at greater risk of experiencing an early menopause compared to lean or normal weight women, according to a study of nearly 80,000 women.

News flash about hot flashes: They can last longer than you think

May 31, 2018
Menopause symptoms are not just for midlife anymore, according to a new Mayo Clinic study published this month in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Menopause found to worsen symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

January 29, 2018
A recent study published in Rheumatology suggests that women with rheumatoid arthritis suffer a greater decline in physical function following menopause. After studying 8189 women with rheumatoid arthritis, researchers found ...

New study demonstrates combined impact of smoking and early menopause on mortality

August 5, 2015
Women may now have yet another reason to quit smoking given the results of a new study that is being reported online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). The Swedish study involving ...

Study ties early menopause to heart attack, stroke

September 28, 2012
Women who experience early menopause are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than women whose menopause occurs at a later age, according to a new study by Melissa Wellons, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine in ...

Recommended for you

Accurate measurements of sodium intake confirm relationship with mortality

June 21, 2018
Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, ...

Fans of yoga therapy have yet to win over doctors

June 21, 2018
Yoga practitioners often tout the unique health benefits of the ancient discipline—from relieving stress and pain to improving vascular health—but most doctors remain sceptical in the absence of hard proof.

Fruit and vegetables linked to changes in skin colour, new research finds

June 21, 2018
Skin colour in young Caucasian men is strongly linked to high levels of fruit and vegetable consumption, new research by Curtin University has found.

What a pain: The iPad neck plagues women more

June 20, 2018
Is your iPad being a literal pain in the neck?

Medicaid work requirements and health savings accounts may impact people's coverage

June 20, 2018
Current experimental approaches in Medicaid programs—including requirements to pay premiums, contribute to health savings accounts, or to work—may lead to unintended consequences for patient coverage and access, such ...

Introduction of alcohol found to adversely impact fertility rates in hunter-gatherer community

June 19, 2018
Fernando Ramirez Rozzi, a research director with the French National Centre for Scientific Research has found that the introduction of alcohol to a Baka pygmy hunter-gatherer society caused fertility rates to fall. In his ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Anonym786622
not rated yet Jun 12, 2018
I was diagnosed with COPD 5 years ago and was taking Spiriva and Advair plus nose sprays to slow down progression. My symptoms have always been shortness of breath, and dizziness. I am a 54 year old female. the Spiriva wasn't really working and I could not tolerate them for long due to severe side effects, so this year our family doctor started me on Natural Herbal Gardens COPD Herbal mixture, We ordered their COPD herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report with the help of Natural Herbal Garden natural herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using herbs, my symptoms totally declined over a 9 weeks use of the Natural Herbal Gardens COPD natural herbal formula. My COPD is totally reversed! Their official web page is www . naturalherbalgardens . com After the herbal treatment I also finally was able to give up smoking after 20 years. I 'm thankful to nature

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.