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16th Oct 2018

Late bloomer? How your period can predict how long you’ll live

The ages at which you get your first period and start menopause may be a predictor of how long you can expect to live. 

A study by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that women who start menstruation and experience menopause later in life may have increased chances of surviving beyond their 9oth birthday.

The 21-year study of 16,000 women, published in Menopause, is the first to evaluate the association of reproductive factors with survival to a specific advanced age.

“Women who started menstruation at age 12 or older, experienced menopause, either naturally or surgically, at age 50 or older and had more than 40 reproductive years had increased odds of living to 90-years-old,” said Aladdin Shadyab, PhD, of UC San Diego School of Medicine.

“Our team found that women who started menstruation at a later age were less likely to have certain health issues, like coronary heart disease, and those who experienced menopause later in life were more likely to be in excellent health overall, which may be a possible explanation for our findings,” said Shadyab.

Women who started menstruation and experienced menopause at a later age were also less likely to be smokers or have a history of diabetes.

“Factors, such as smoking, can damage the cardiovascular system and ovaries, which can result in earlier menopause. Women with later menopause and a longer reproductive lifespan may have decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases,” said Shadyab.

Not that there’s much we can do about it, but it seems like it pays to be a late bloomer after all, eh?