Researchers in Sweden have reported that undergoing the menopause before the age of 47 can result in an increased risk of both mortality and fractures at the age of 77. They followed 390 women who had their bone mineral density measured at the age of 48 and again at 77. The team also collected data on mortality rates and the number of fractures until the women reached the age of 82.
The researchers noted whether the women had gone through the menopause at the time of their original study defining it at 12 months continuously without a period (bleed); they were then divided into two groups who had either already had a menopause and those who hadn’t.
Those women who had gone through the menopause before the age of 47 showed an 83% higher risk of osteoporosis, a 68% higher risk of fragility fracture and a 59% higher mortality rate that the comparison group.
However, the study was not entirely conclusive and the team suggested that a lower bone mineral density may not explain the total fracture risk and that inferior muscle strength or inferior neuromuscular function may also be an indicator.
How this relates to women who have had an early menopause due to a hysterectomy and consequently take HRT to mitigate the low oestrogen levels at menopause is not known as this was not accounted for in the study.