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Female smokers will experience an earlier menopause

Published on 18/10/2011

Female smokers with private medical insurance may experience the onset of menopause earlier than women who don’t smoke.

A new study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong has discovered a previously unrecognised link between smoking and the menopause. This evidence provides yet another justification for women to avoid the habit, in addition to the increased risk of developing cancer, heart disease and lung disease.

Menopause is a natural condition in which a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs, and they can no longer get pregnant. Menopausal symptoms naturally occur between the ages of 46 and 51, with hot flushes being the most common symptom.

Researchers in Hong Kong pooled data from several previous studies, including 6,000 women from across the world. The results, published in the journal Menopause, showed that women who smoke go through the menopause between the ages of 43 and 50, earlier than average.

Dr Volodymyr Dvornyk, author of the study, also analysed five other studies that grouped women into ‘early’ and ‘late’ menopause. Out of the 43,000 women, the women who smoked were 43 per cent more likely to have an early menopause.

Dr Dvornyk said: “Our results give further evidence that smoking is significantly associated with earlier (age at menopause) and provide yet another justification for women to avoid this habit.”

Although the reasons for this are largely unknown, it is thought that smoking has an effect on how women’s bodies handle oestrogen, and components in the smoke may destroy eggs in the ovaries.

An earlier menopause is associated with a higher risk of developing other health problems, including osteoporosis and heart conditions.

Some health insurance policies, like PruHealth’s Vitality policy, will reward their customers for living a healthy lifestyle, including not smoking, eating healthily and exercising regularly. Compare health insurance quotes online now to see if you could benefit from living well.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Health
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