I’m a doctor and here’s why delaying the menopause could help you live longer

DELAYING the menopause could help women live longer, an award-winning scientist has claimed.

Dr Jennifer Garrison, who leads the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, said the hormonal change caused by the menopause triggered “faster” aging across the rest of the body.


Dr Jennifer Garrison said women who started the menopause in their 40s were likely to age faster than their peersCredit: Life Itself/CNN

Dr Garrison told the Life Itself conference hosted by CNN in San Diego, California, that women who started the menopause in their 40s rather than around the average age of 51 were likely to age faster than their peers.

The menopause occurs when oestrogen levels in the body start to decline.

During this time periods become less frequent or they can suddenly stop.

In most cases, after menopause occurs women will be unable to become pregnant naturally.

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Around one in 100 women experience menopause before the age of 40, and this is known as premature ovarian insufficiency or premature menopause.

Dr Garrison told attendees: “When a woman is in her late 20s or early 30s, the rest of her tissue is functioning at peak performance, but her ovaries are already showing overt signs of aging.

“Yet most women learn about their ovaries and ovarian function when they go to use them for the first time, and find out they’re geriatric.”

She added: “Studies show women who have later menopause tend to live longer and have an enhanced ability to repair their DNA.

“But women with natural menopause before the age of 40 are twice as likely to die (early) compared with women going through natural menopause between the ages of 50 to 54.”

Major hormonal changes take place during the menopause as the ovaries stop producing oestrogen and progesterone.

The severity of menopausal symptoms can vary depending on the individual.

They can range from mild to significantly interrupting your daily routine.

Menopausal symptoms can start months or years before your periods stop, and can last until four years or longer after your last period.

There are numerous symptoms of the menopause which can include hot flushes, changing or irregular periods, night sweats and vagina dryness.

Women can also be left with life-long health conditions such as osteoporosis.

Dr Garrison warned that “once ovaries stop working and reproduction ceases, there is a whole host of really important hormones that ovaries make which are important for overall health.

Fabulous Menopause Matters

An estimated one in five of the UK’s population are currently experiencing it.

Yet the menopause is still whispered in hush tones like it’s something to be embarrassed about. 

The stigma attached to the transition means women have been suffering in silence for centuries. 

The Sun are determined to change that, launching the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign to give the taboo a long-awaited kick, and get women the support they need.

The campaign has three aims:

  • To make HRT free in England
  • To get every workplace to have a menopause policy to provide support
  • To bust taboos around the menopause

The campaign has been backed by a host of influential figures including Baroness Karren Brady CBE, celebrities Lisa Snowdon, Jane Moore, Michelle Heaton, Zoe Hardman, Saira Khan, Trisha Goddard, as well as Dr Louise Newson, Carolyn Harris MP, Jess Phillips MP, Caroline Nokes MP and Rachel Maclean MP. 

Exclusive research commissioned by Fabulous, which surveyed 2,000 British women aged 45-65 who are going through or have been through the menopause, found that 49% of women suffered feelings of depression, while 7% felt suicidal while going through the menopause. 

50% of respondents said there is not enough support out there for menopausal women, which is simply not good enough. It’s time to change that. 

“After a woman goes through menopause, essentially her body is aging faster and it increases the risk for a whole host of different health conditions – things like cognitive decline, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. 

“After menopause the risk of these things goes up dramatically.”

Her research organisation, the Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality is investigating the health effects of the menopause and her current focus is on whether there is a link between chemical signals from the brain and when the menopause begins and how this can be influenced.

Dr Garrison also hit out at the historical lack of funding into research being carried out into the menopause.

There was little know about why the ovaries age so much faster than other areas of the body as well as why eggs within them decline in quantity and quality as women age, she said.

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Initially, the National Institutes of Health was putting less than one per cent of its funding into the area even though women make up half the population.

This has now risen with grants being made available to back research.

Menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, can start months or years before your periods stop (stock image)


Menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, can start months or years before your periods stop (stock image)Credit: Getty

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