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Good News for Women Who Have Early Menopause

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2012-06-10 09:35

If you are a woman who started menopause before you turned 46, then the authors of a new study have some good news to share. A Swedish research team found that women who have early menopause are much less likely to develop severe rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that most often strikes women.

Menopause is a time of change

The average age of the start of natural menopause is 51, and women are defined as having reached menopause when they have not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months and there are no other reasons for this change in their cycle. Along with the hormonal changes characteristic of menopause, women frequently experience a variety of symptoms ranging from hot flashes to headache, mood swings, breast tenderness, and fatigue.

Now according to a new study, women who go through early menopause may have a benefit: a more than 50% lower risk they will experience severe rheumatoid arthritis. At the recent European League Against Rheumatism's annual meeting, investigators announced that only 16% of women in their study having early menopause developed severe arthritis compared with 35% who had menopause starting at 46 years or later.

What the study showed
The study group consisted of 127 women who had been part of the Malmo Diet and Cancer Study, who had developed rheumatoid arthritis, and for whom menopausal status was known. However, complete information on arthritis severity was known for only 85 women.

Here are the study specifics:

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