Menopause usually occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55, with 51 being the average age women reach menopause. However, some women experience menopause later in life. Late menopause has its own benefits and risks, keep reading to learn more.
What Causes Late Menopause?
Hormones are vital because they help keep the body running smoothly and regulate different bodily functions. Menopause is a natural transition women experience when their ovaries begin to end production of hormones. A woman is said to have experienced menopause when she has gone 12 months without a period. The time period before menopause when a woman experiences menopausal symptoms is referred to as perimenopause.
Women usually experience late menopause because they have a genetic predisposition to it. If your mom went through menopause late, chances are you will also. Very few environmental factors can influence when a woman experiences menopause. However, being overweight or taking certain medicines that contain hormones can cause a woman to experience late menopause. Smoking and living in high altitude places can cause women to experience early menopause.
Late Menopause and Living Longer
Reaching menopause later in life means that a woman had reproductive hormones flowing through her body for more time than women who reach menopause early or at average ages. This means that those who reach menopause late have an increased chance of getting reproductive cancers like ovarian, breast and uterine cancer. However, reaching menopause later does not greatly increase your risk for these cancers. For example, late menopause increases breast cancer risk by one percent.
Even though women who reach menopause later at are a higher risk for reproductive cancers, they are statistically likely to live longer than then their counterparts who go through menopause within the average or early age range. This is because women who go through menopause late are at a lower risk for heart disease and stroke. Women who experience late menopause also tend to suffer less from osteoporosis, have stronger bones, and fewer fractures.
Women who experience late menopause have longer exposure to the hormone estrogen, which is partially responsible for creating the elasticity in skin. This means that these women tend to have fewer wrinkles and “younger” looking skin.
Late Menopause and You
If you are past the age of 51 and still experience menstrual cycles you may be experiencing late menopause. If you are sexually active and do not wish to get pregnant it is important to use protection, even if your menstrual cycles are sporadic or irregular, since you may still be able to get pregnant.
Some women who have not yet experienced menopause have fears and concerns about what their experience of menopause will be like. This is normal, but it is also important to remember that menopause is not a disease and there are healthy, affordable, and safe ways to treat the menopausal symptoms a woman may experience. Click on the following link to learn about the ways you can treat your menopause symptoms.
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- Rabin, R.C. (2015, July 31). Ask Well: Late Menopause. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/ask-well-late-menopause/?_r=0