Nov 10, 2007

Smoking linked to early menopause

Female smokers are 59 percent more likely to have an early menopause before the age of 45 than non-smokers.

This was revealed by Norwegian researchers who said that the smokers were also at risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.

Dr. Thea F. Mikkelsen of the University of Oslo and her colleagues studied over 2,000 women aged 59 to 60 years old. They found that smokers began menopause early, especially those who smoked heavily where the risk of early menopause was nearly doubled. Female smokers are 59 percent more likely to have an early menopause before the age of 45 than non-smokers.

This was revealed by Norwegian researchers who said that the smokers were also at risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.

Dr. Thea F. Mikkelsen of the University of Oslo and her colleagues studied over 2,000 women aged 59 to 60 years old. They found that smokers began menopause early, especially those who smoked heavily where the risk of early menopause was nearly doubled.

But former smokers who quit at least 10 years before menopause were 87 percent less likely than current smokers to stop menstruating before the age of 45. Second-hand smoke also affected the onset of menopause.

"The researchers found that nearly 10 percent of the women went through menopause before age 45. About 25 percent were current smokers, 28.7 percent were ex-smokers and 35.2 percent reported current passive exposure to smoke," according to Reuters.

The same link was found by Dr. Jonathan Tilly of the Massachusetts General Hospital who blamed early menopause on a chemical found in cigarette smoke that speeds up the destruction of female egg cells in the ovaries.

"Women who smoke undergo menopause earlier, and we've correlated this with exposure to a class of chemicals in tobacco smoke that accelerate the death of egg cells in the ovaries,'' said Tilly who led the six-year-study published in the journal Nature Genetics.

The chemicals are called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are used to make tar, plastics, and dyes. They are also found in cigarette smoke and in air pollution. When injected in female mice, the toxin attaches to egg cells and triggers a chemical reaction that slowly kills the latter.

"You don't see any impact (from the chemicals) until many years down the road. The ovaries will continue to work and the destruction will go on for a while, and boom,'' Tilly said.

"The earlier a woman stops smoking, the more protection she derives with respect to an early onset of menopause," Mikkelsen concluded.

The menopause is marked by the end of menstruation and fertility, and normally occurs at age 51. Hormonal changes are responsible for the physical symptoms of menopause that include hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, increased abdominal fat, and vaginal dryness. This can be remedied by Zalestra, a natural product that balances hormones and controls weight without the adverse effects of hormones. For more information, go to http://www.zalestra.com

by Sharon Bell