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J Midlife Health. 2014 Jan;5(1):3-5. doi: 10.4103/0976-7800.127779.

Lifestyle and dietary factors determine age at natural menopause.

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1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Abstract

A literature search was done using PubMed. The age at natural menopause (ANM) depends on various factors like genetic, environmental, socioeconomic, reproductive, dietary, and lifestyle of which some like nulliparity, vegetarian diet, smoking, high fat intake, cholesterol, and caffeine accelerates; while others like parity, prior use of oral contraceptive pills, and Japanese ethnicity delays the ANM. ANM is an important risk factor for long-term morbidity and mortality; and hence, the need to identify the modifiable risk factors like diet and lifestyle changes. Delayed menopause is associated with increased risk of endometrial and breast cancer, while early ANM enhances the risk for cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis. The correlation between diet and ANM has not been extensively studied; however, whatever studies have been done till now point towards role of high intake of total calories, fruits, and proteins in delaying the ANM, while high polyunsaturated fat intake accelerates it. The role of dietary soy, total fat, saturated fat, red meat, and dietary fiber in determining the ANM has been controversial and needs further studies to substantiate it. The lifestyle factors like current smoking and vigorous exercise have been significantly associated with early menopause, while moderate alcohol consumption delays the ANM. Large prospective studies are needed to study the association of ANM and other modifiable factors like passive smoking fish consumption, soy, and various types of tea. The knowledge of modifiable determinants of ANM can help in setting up menopausal clinics and initiating health programs specially in developing countries.

KEYWORDS:

Diet; lifestyle; natural menopause

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