Smoking Could Fast-Forward Your Menopause

By Ariel Nagi 10/21/11

The unwelcome consequences of early menopause add up to yet more health risks associated with smoking.

Making the clock tick faster Thinkstock

Women who smoke could be forcing their biological clock forward, bringing on their menopause a year sooner than average. A second look at some information obtained through past studies has revealed to researchers that women who smoked reach menopause a year earlier than those who don't smoke; the data examined was pulled from six studies of about 6,000 women in the US, Poland, Turkey and Iran. While non-smokers hit menopause between age 46 and 51 on average, those who lit up experienced menopause between 43 and 50. Four of the six studies clearly showed this earlier onset. Study author Volodymyr Dvornyk from the University of Hong Kong said women should be aware of this trend, since the age at which women stop having their period affects their risk of heart and bone diseases, and even breast cancer. "[The] general consensus is that earlier menopause is likely to be associated with the larger number and higher risk of postmenopausal health problems, such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, and the others," Dvornyk told Reuters Health. Early menopause in itself could in turn increase a woman's risk of early death in the following years.

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