Dietary and behavioral determinants of menopause

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1. Black and Hispanic women have been observed to experience natural menopause at an earlier age than white women, despite increased body mass, whereas Asian women have been observed to have a lower frequency of hot flushes than white women, despite lower serum estradiol levels. 2. Women who smoke have consistently been shown to experience menopause earlier than nonsmokers and to have a shorter perimenopause, and a dose-response relationship in this association has been shown. Little is known about the relationship of passive smoke exposure to age at menopause or whether smoking increases the frequency or severity of menopausal symptoms. 3. Although some studies show that increased body mass and upper body fat are associated with later age at menopause, some studies do not confirm this. Further research is needed on the independent effects of body mass and composition on frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms. 4. Shorter and more variable menstrual cycles in early adulthood and increased parity and oral contraceptive use have all been associated with later age at menopause. 5. Age at menarche, previous spontaneous abortions, age at first birth, and history of breast- feeding have all been shown not to be associated with age at menopause. 6. The effect of physical activity on age at menopause is unknown, but participation in an exercise program reduced the vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. 7. Lower social class has been associated with earlier menopause, but nothing is known about the relationship of occupational exposures to age at menopause or frequency or severity of menopausal symptoms. 8. Dietary phytoestrogens have estrogenic activity and may compete with estradiol for binding to estrogen receptors and affect plasma estradiol, FSH and LH levels in premenopausal women and have been shown to reduce hot flashes in one small study of postmenopausal women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Consultations in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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