Genes and early menopause

Most women expect to go through menopause around the age of 50. But, as we revealed in a recent blog, some women are experiencing symptoms earlier than this, and with no known cause.

A new study has revealed that genetic variants in DNA can influence the age that menopause is experienced. So, what does this mean? And does this offer some hope to women that choose to start a family later in life?

What is menopause?

Menopause is a natural process of ageing and is when a woman stops having menstrual cycles. It indicates a loss of ovarian function and therefore results in no longer being able to get pregnant naturally.

Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 47 – 52 years. However, around 4% of women undergo menopause before the age of 45 which is known as early menopause. It generally happens over a length of time, with periods becoming irregular. But it can also stop suddenly too.

Common symptoms of menopause include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, fluctuations in mood and a reduced sex drive.

Predicting your menopause

Contributing factors to menopause include lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking alcohol. However, genes also play a big part. But new research undertaken by a large consortium of international researchers, has looked more closely at the genetic variants that influence the age of menopause.

The study that involved 200,000 women’s records, discovered a particular gene that, when blocked, could delay the onset of menopause.

The hope is that these findings can allow the development of a blood test that women could take to confirm if they are at high risk of early menopause and loss of fertility. Further research could even lead to treatments that extend women’s chances of reproduction later in life.

Being able to predict at what age menopause will occur would help guide women and their partners and give more flexibility in choosing when to have a child.

Fertility and menopause

Around 1 in 100 women experience menopause before they are the age of 40. This is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency as fertility levels cease.

If you are planning to start a family, or are concerned that you haven’t been able to conceive for a year, SureScan offers a Fertility Health Check service. A consultant gynaecologist will carry out a thorough assessment, so you can move forward with confidence.

Menopause Health Check

Here at Surescan, we offer a menopause health check once a year for all peri- and postmenopausal women. The check includes a thorough consultation with a gynaecologist, to discuss any concerns you may have, as well as a full health check.

If you are concerned that you are experiencing menopausal symptoms, or if you want to organise a fertility health check then get in touch to book a consultation today.