Women Who Got Their Period Young At Higher Risk Of Early Or Premature Menopause

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Women are at a higher risk of early or premature menopause if they had their first menstrual period aged 11 or younger. If they remain childless the risk is increased even more, says a study published recently.


The first-large scale, multi-national study investigated the links between age at puberty and menopause and whether or not a woman has had children.

The study was published this month in Human Reproduction journal, one of the world’s leading reproductive medicine journals.

A whopping 51,450 women agreed to take part in nine studies in the UK, Scandinavia, Australia and Japan.

Early Period Linked With Premature Menopause

It found that women who started their menstrual periods aged 11 or younger had an 80 per cent higher risk of experiencing a natural menopause before the age of 40 (premature menopause). This is compared with women whose first period was between 12 and 13.

In addition, those who got their period young also had a 30 per cent higher risk of menopause between the ages of 40-44 (early menopause).

Women who had never been pregnant or who had never had children had a two-fold increased chance of premature menopause and a 30 per cent increased risk of early menopause.

The risk increased even further for women whose periods started early if they had no children.

In fact, the likelihood of premature or early menopause increased five-fold and two-fold, respectively, compared to women who had their first period aged 12 or older and who had two or more children.

Women Who Got Period Young At Risk Of Early Or Premature Menopause

Findings Could Help Clinicians Prepare Women

The lead researcher for the study is University of Queensland-based Professor Gita Mishra. She is Professor of Life Course Epidemiology and Director of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health.

Prof Mishra said the findings could give clinicians time to prepare childless women, from around the age of 35 years who had first period aged 11 or younger, for the possibility of premature or early menopause.

“It provides an opportunity for clinicians to include women’s reproductive history alongside other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, when assessing the risk of early menopause,” she says.

“And it enables them to focus health messages more effectively both earlier in life and for women at most risk.”

Could Help Prevent Conditions Linked To Earlier Menopause

Prof Mishra said clinicians could also use the study’s results to help prevent certain medical conditions in women.

“In addition, they could consider early strategies for preventing and detecting chronic conditions that are linked to earlier menopause, such as heart disease,” she says.

“The message for everyone to take on board from this is to think of the timing of menopause as a biological marker of reproductive ageing, which has implications for health and the risk of chronic diseases.

“So if we want to improve health outcomes in the later life, we need to be thinking about the risk factors through the whole of a woman’s life.

“This is from the early years and the time of their first period through to their childbearing years and menopause.”

Menopause was defined as menstrual periods having ceased for at least a year. You can read more details details here.

Meanwhile, you must read about a woman with early menopause who didn’t know she was pregnant until she went into labour!

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