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No more underarm jiggle

Medicare Part D


Four Risk Factors For Early Menopause

Although there is currently no way to precicely predict when menopause will begin, there are several known factors that can help you alert yourself to whether or not you are at risk of early menopause.


Studies have shown that smokers experience menopause an average of 2 years earlier than non-smokers. The mechanism that causes this effect is unclear. However, it has been clearly established that women who continue smoking as they get older are at a clear risk for earlier menopause, provided they smoke at least 14 cigarettes per day. There are no clear findings for lighter smokers. This doesn’t mean that smoking less than 14 cigarettes daily carries no risk of early menopause, just that no study has yet shown whether it does or not.

Autoimmune Disease

The ovaries are fragile organs, and they are easily attacked if the body is suffering from an autoimmune disease. Damaged ovaries do not heal easily, and in general any kind of ovary damage can be expected to cause menopause to occur earlier. Patients with autoimmune disease are at a high risk of early menopause.

Fragile X Syndrome

If a member of your immediate family has Fragile X Syndrome, then you are substantially likelier to have early onset menopause. Although the symptoms of Fragile X are extremely visible in men, in women who carry only one Fragile X chromosome along with one normal X chromosome, the symptoms can be absent or very mild.

Female carriers of Fragile X are at high risk of early menopause; 25% have menopause before the age of 40, an experience that is medically referred to as premature menopause.

Family Members

Even without Fragile X, there are many other gene markers that affect the timing of menopause onset. If your mother or sisters experienced menopause early, then it is very likely that you will as well. The genetic factor of menopause timing is very strong and distributed among a large number of genes, so tendencies carried by members of your family are a very strong indicator of genetic tendencies you might also have.

All these factors contribute to the timing of menopause. Other factors do as well, but these are well-known causes. Discuss menopause with your doctor to understand more about the risk factors involved and what to expect as you enter this new stage of your life.


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