Doctors may soon predict when women will enter menopause

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 14: Guests join Naomi Watts to celebrate a preview of her beauty and wellness menopause brand, Stripes, launching this October. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Stripes/Amyris)

A new study suggests doctors may be able to predict when a woman will enter menopause, taking into account a range of indicators aside from age.

The study was recently published in the journal "Menopause" comprised of research from the North American Menopause Society.

Researchers found that elevated levels of follicle-stimulating hormone and estradiol, abnormal periods, and menopausal symptoms are indicators that a woman is nearing menopause. To further help calculate an age, researchers also took into account the woman’s lifestyle including alcohol intake, use of hormone contraceptives, smoking habits, relationship status, and physical fitness.

Scientists admit that more, in-depth research is needed but with the insight from this study, they may be able to help doctors prescribe contraceptive choices and treatment for menopausal symptoms in women.

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"This study, although conducted in a small number of women, adds to our knowledge regarding what factors are important in a prediction model for the age at which a woman will enter menopause," Dr. Stephanie Faubion of NAMS said in a statement.

"Accurately predicting age at natural menopause would better inform how we counsel women regarding multiple issues, including cardiovascular risk, family planning and contraception, and management of perimenopause issues such as irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, vasomotor symptoms, and mood changes," she continued. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row. 

The CDC says menopause typically happens between 45–55 years of age. Menopause happens because the woman’s ovary stops producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.