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Evidence for a secular trend in menopausal age: a population study of women in Gothenburg

Journal article
Authors Kerstin Rödström
Calle Bengtsson
Ian Milsom
Lauren Lissner
Valter Sundh
Cecilia Björkelund
Published in Menopause
Volume 10 (6)
Issue Nov-Dec
Pages 538-543
Publication year 2003
Published at Institute of Community Medicine, Dept of Primary Health Care
Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Pages 538-543
Language en
Subject categories Public health medicine research areas


Department of Primary Health Care, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Sweden. OBJECTIVE: To describe secular trends in age of natural menopause. DESIGN: A prospective study based on a random sample of the total female population in Gothenburg, Sweden, started in 1968 with follow-ups in 1974-75, 1980-81, 1992-93, and 2000-02. Participants: 1,462 women born in 1930, 1922, 1918, 1914, and 1908 (participation rate, 90.1%) representative of women of the same ages in the general population. Information regarding menopausal age was provided by 1,373 of the 1,462 women (93.9%). The number was further reduced to 1,017 after exclusion of women who had taken hormones, undergone a surgical menopause, or both. RESULTS: The mean age at natural menopause showed a steady increase across birth cohorts. Trends were similar in women who had smoked and women who had never smoked, even after adjusting for different covariates. The upward trend was 0.1 years per birth year (SE 0.020, P < 0.0001). Interestingly, women with earlier menarche had a somewhat earlier age at menopause, independent of the cohort effect. When hormone users were included in the sample, the cohort effect was also found to be independent of oral contraceptive use and hormone therapy. CONCLUSIONS: This study has shown that, independent of variations in socioeconomic status, smoking status, oral contraceptive use, or hormone therapy use, as well as other potential confounders, there was a highly significant secular trend of increase in menopausal age. The observation of a positive association between menarche and menopausal age has, to our knowledge, not previously been described. PMID: 14627863 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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