A crystal ball for the final menses?

July 1, 2007

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A number of factors can predict within 1 year when a woman's final menstrual period (FMP) will occur, according to the findings of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), the largest multiethnic, community-based cohort study of American women going through menopause.

In this analysis of 2,662 women, advancing age, bleeding irregularity, current cigarette smoking (both active and passive), higher follicle-stimulating hormone, and/or estradiol levels, and having a number of vasomotor symptoms were all associated with a shorter time to FMP, while higher levels of physical activity and education were associated with a later FMP.

The researchers hope to use the information to create a predictive model that can be easily used by women and their physicians to determine when the FMP will occur.