early menopause

A new study has revealed that the onset of early menopause isn’t related to the amount of exercise you do. The study, published within the Human Reproduction journal, is the largest of its kind to answer the question of whether or not physical activity is a risk factor for the menopause.

Here, we’ll look at what the study revealed and what factors are known to link to early menopause.

Understanding the study

The study, carried out by the University of Massachusetts, analysed the data of a staggering 107,275 women. It revealed that there was no correlation between natural early menopause and the level of exercise conducted.

Previous studies have shown conflicting results, with some suggesting exercise may be linked o the menopause, and others suggesting it doesn’t. However, all previous studies have been carried out on a much smaller scale. So, this latest study provides the most compelling results, taking into account the sheer number of women analysed.

The data was taken from female nurses in America who joined the Nurses’ Health Study II in 1989 and it followed them through to 2011. By the end of the study, 2786 women had experienced the early menopause before turning 45. After assessing their physical activity levels, it was determined that exercise didn’t seem to have any impact on the age the women entered the early menopause.

What the study did reveal, is that the risk of early menopause is typically determined by environmental factors. For example, a higher intake of Vitamin D and Calcium, lowers the risk, while being underweight and smoking increased the risk.

Researchers stress exercise is still important

While the amount of exercise you do won’t impact your chances of going through the early menopause, the researchers still stress that regular physical activity is important. This is because keeping active greatly reduces the risk of numerous diseases.

Once you do enter into the menopause, your risk of developing serious illnesses such as heart disease does increase. Exercise is known to reduce the risk of these conditions, so it isn’t something which should be ignored. It’s also generally better for your overall health if you exercise regularly too.

What factors can trigger early menopause?

So, now it’s been established that lower levels of exercise don’t appear to trigger early menopause, what factors could cause its onset? There are several known causes which could lead to early menopause including:

  • Genetics
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Lifestyle factors

If your mother or grandmother went through early menopause, it is more likely that you will too. However, genetics isn’t the only potential trigger. If you suffer from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disease, your risk also increases. Then there are lifestyle factors such as smoking and body mass index which can contribute to early menopause.

As you can see, there are several known risk factors associated with early menopause. However, thanks to this latest study, exercise levels can be ruled out as a potential link. Just remember, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise as it’s still important for overall general health and it could even help to reduce the symptoms of early menopause if it does occur.