If you started having your period early and also did not have children, there may be an increased risk of premature or early menopause according to a new study published in the journal Human Reproduction.
Researchers looked at more than 51,000 women in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, and what they found was that women who started their menstrual periods at age 11 or younger were 80 percent more likely to have premature menopause than those who started their periods between ages 12 and 13. Women who began menstruating at 11 or younger were also 30 percent more likely to have early menopause, the authors said.
Those who had never been pregnant or never had children had a twofold increased risk of premature menopause. These women also had a 30 percent increased risk of early menopause.
And based on what we already know about women with either premature or early menopause, they face an increased risk of chronic conditions in later life and early death. These findings support early monitoring of women with early menstruation, especially those who have no children, for preventative health interventions.
The lead researcher for the study, Professor Gita Mishra from the University of Queensland, Australia, said: “If the findings from our study were incorporated into clinical guidelines for advising childless women from around the age of 35 years who had their first period aged 11 or younger, clinicians could gain valuable time to prepare these women for the possibility of premature or early menopause.”
Mishra believes that this could provide a valuable opportunity for clinicians to include women’s reproductive history alongside other lifestyle factors when assessing the risk of early menopause. This added information can help them focus health messages more effectively, both earlier in life and for women most at risk.