Late Menopause Associated with Longevity

A study from Norway showed that the older a woman stops menstruating permanently, the longer she lives.

A woman is born with about four million eggs. Each month, a single egg ripens and pops into the uterus and 10,000 eggs deteriorate until she finally runs out of eggs and goes into the menopause. A North American woman goes into the menopause at the average age of 52. Women who go into menopause later than that are at somewhat increased risk for breast cancer, presumably because increasing the duration of exposure to estrogen increases breast cancer risk. However, estrogen does good things also. It thickens the bones, skin and vagina, protects blood vessels and improves mood, and this latest study shows that women who go into menopause later than age 52 live longer than those who go into menopause earlier.

Age at natural menopause and all-cause mortality: A 37-year follow-up of 19,731 Norwegian women. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2003, Vol 157, Iss 10, pp 923-929. BK Jacobsen, I Heuch, G Kvale. Jacobsen BK, Univ Tromso, Inst Community Med, N-9037 Tromso, NORWAY

Checked 5/15/12

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