Have you ever heard about the theory that the age a woman will hit the menopause is linked to the age her female relatives went through it? Well, there is now a study that support that concept. For instance, women whose mothers or sisters went through the menopause by 45 years old had a six times higher chance of experiencing the same. And those who went through the menopause at a later age (54 and older which is quite rare) probably had relatives with the same experience. To be more precise, those with mothers who were late to the menopause game were six times more likely to notice that too, and twice as likely to have sisters who were fertile for longer.
But before you conclude that genetics are the only thing that matters when determining the age at which a woman will go through the menopause, the study team led by Danielle Morris at the Institute of Cancer Research in Great Britain also looked at environmental factors. Smokers tend to go through this process one or two years older than those who don't smoke or gave up years ago. Interesting! Morris explained: "Genes have an important effect on age at menopause, but lifestyle also matters, and so women can affect their age at menopause by their behaviors."
She also talked about her research in more detail and explained: "For example, if identical twins have more similar menopausal ages than non-identical twins, then this suggests that genes are important because identical twins have more genes in common than non-identical twins. Similarly, if sisters have more similar menopausal ages than mothers and daughters, then this [suggests] that environment is important, because sisters have the same amount of genes in common as mothers and daughters do, but sisters tend to have more similar lifestyles than mothers and daughters." The study team warned that menopausal age has a definite impact on fertility.
The chances of getting pregnant are really slim as far as a decade before the actual menopause hits. Are you struggling with infertility? If you have been trying to conceive for a long time, you may want to find out when your older female relatives had the menopause. The information you receive may be very telling! Also see Free fertility treatments for post-menopausal women in the UK?