Neighborhood poverty linked to decreased ovarian reserves


Discover how neighborhood disadvantage affects menopause onset and implications for women's health, as revealed by recent research published in Menopause, the journal of The Menopause Society.

Neighborhood poverty linked to decreased ovarian reserves | Image Credit: © New Africa - © New Africa -

Neighborhood poverty linked to decreased ovarian reserves | Image Credit: © New Africa - © New Africa -

There is an association between neighborhood disadvantage and menopause timing, according to a recent study published in Menopause, the journal of The Menopause Society.1


  1. Study finds a link between neighborhood disadvantage and menopause timing, indicating environmental influences on reproductive health.
  2. Early menopause is associated with increased risks of various health issues such as neurologic disorders and cardiovascular disease.
  3. Socioeconomic factors such as unemployment and education level are linked to earlier menopause onset, regardless of other demographic factors.
  4. The study assessed markers of ovarian reserve and found that exposure to neighborhood poverty may impact ovarian health and menopausal timing.
  5. Findings suggest that early life adversity, especially neighborhood poverty, may affect ovarian reserve and increase the risk of age-related diseases.

The risks of adverse health outcomes such as neurologic disorders, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and mortality are increased by early menopause, and data has linked exhaustion of the ovarian follicle pool to menopause.

Prior research from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation has linked socioeconomic factors such as unemployment status and lower educational attainment to earlier menopause onset. This association was reported regardless of smoking status, race and ethnicity, parity, contraceptive use, heart disease history, and marital status.

The recent study from The Menopause Society evaluated antimüllerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC) in participants to determine an association with neighborhood poverty exposure.2 Participants’ residential addresses in adulthood were geocoded and linked to US Census data, allowing identification of neighborhood poverty.

Significant variations in the association between AMH and age at menopause were reported based on neighborhood poverty in adulthood independent of covariates. Progressive reduction was found in AMH among women with exposure to low, medium, and high levels of poverty.

Data also indicated higher neighborhood poverty was linked to increased AMH in younger women only. AFC results were not significant.

These results indicated adverse impacts on ovarian follicle loss over time from neighborhood disadvantage. However, it is unknown whether these results will be replicated from longitudinal evaluations of AMH and neighborhood poverty.

“This study highlights the potential effect of early life adversity, and specifically neighborhood poverty, on ovarian reserve, which in turn has implications for the timing of menopause onset and risk for diseases of aging,” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, medical director for The Menopause Society.1 “These findings add to the understanding of the adverse effect of psychological stress on reproductive health.”


  1. Poverty shown to reduce women’s ovarian reserves. The Menopause Society. March 6, 2024. Accessed March 6, 2024.
  2. Pan A, Crowder KD, Cedars MI, Bleil ME. Association between neighborhood poverty and ovarian reserve: the ovarian aging study. Menopause. 2024. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000002331
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