Women who go through menopause early are nearly twice as likely to experience osteoporosis later in life, according to researchers in Sweden.
Early menopause also increases risk for fragility fracture and mortality, according to a study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
According to a Wiley-Blackwell news release, 390 white, northern European women aged 48 years were recruited for an observational study. These women were divided into two groups: one which started menopause before 47 years old and women who started menopause after age 47 years.
Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured in the distal forearm for each patient at baseline, according to the study abstract, with forearm, proximal femur and lumbar spine BMD assessed for each patient when they reached 77 years of age. Prevalence of osteoporosis was assessed, and the researchers recorded mortality rate and fracture incidence rates for each patient up to age 82 years. At the age of 77 years, 198 of the original 390 women were alive and still willing or able to participate in the study.
According to the release, 56% of women who underwent early menopause were found to have osteoporosis at 77 years of age, compared to 30% of those women who did not undergo early menopause.
Mortality in women who started menopause early was measured at 52.4% compared to 35.2% in the late menopause group, the release added. Fracture incidence rate was 44.3% in the early menopause group, compared to 30.7% in the late menopause group.
“The results of this study suggest that early menopause is a significant risk factor for osteoporosis, fragility fracture and mortality in a long-term perspective,” study author Ola Svejme, MD, stated in the release. “To our knowledge, this is the first prospective study with a follow-up period of more than 3 decades.”
- Svejme O, Ahlborg H, Nilsson J, Karlsson M. Early menopause and risk of osteoporosis, fracture and mortality: a 34-year prospective observational study in 390 women. BJOG. 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03324.x.