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Women with diabetes at early age more likely to enter menopause early

New research suggests that the age at which a woman receives a diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes determines when she will enter menopause.

The earlier a woman develops diabetes, the earlier she is likely to enter menopause, according to new research in Menopause. Previous studies have evaluated the risk for women developing diabetes post-menopause, but this new study aimed to understand the long-term implications of premenopausal diabetes on a woman’s reproductive health, which included their age at natural menopause.

The analysis followed more than 11,000 women for the study, and researchers ultimately found that early age of diagnosis of both type 1 diabetes (>30 y) and type 2 diabetes (30-39 y) was associated with earlier menopause than women with no diabetes diagnosis. They also found that a later age at which type 2 diabetes (>40 y) was diagnosed was associated with later age at natural menopause as compared to those who did not have diabetes. Researchers found no connection between gestational diabetes and age at menopause.

“Our large retrospective cohort study shows that, even after adjusting for covariates associated with age at natural menopause, we still find an association between early diagnosis of diabetes and earlier menopause and a later diabetes diagnosis with a later age at menopause as compared to those who did not have diabetes. We hope our work lays the foundation for more research in this area so we can better understand and prevent the long-term impacts of diabetes on the human body and the reproductive system,” says Vrati Mehra, MD, lead author of the study, from the University of Toronto.

It is widely known the collective toll diabetes takes on the body, but findings from this study demonstrate that young women living with a diagnosis of diabetes are more susceptible to accelerated ovarian aging and early menopause, said director of the North American Menopause Society medical director, Stephanie Faubion, MD.

Reference

North American Menopause Society. Accessed January 12, 2023. https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/diabetes-and-age-at-menopause.pdf