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Home / Health

Less sex could cause early menopause

 Women who frequently have sex are likely to stay fertile for longer (Image: Shutterstock) 

Menopause is a natural process that marks the end of fertility in women—cessation of ovulation and menstruation-- with the average age at 51.5 years among Kenyan women. But it can happen as early as the 30s.

Research published in the US National Library of Medicine journal estimates that premature menopause affects 1 per cent of women under the age of 40 years.

Women who undergo premature menopause are at an elevated risk of developing heart disease, osteoporosis and depression.

Grandmother hypothesis

George Christopher Williams, an evolutionary biologist hypothesised that menopause might be an adaptation.

In his explanation, William suggested that older women would avoid reproductive activities and instead focus on enhancing support to the already existing offspring.

This is what he termed as the “grandmother hypothesis”; which is meant to ensure survival of existing lineage.

Based on the idea that women would invest more time in family, and the existing hypothesis that married women have a later age on natural menopause than unmarried women.

scientists at the University College London observed that women who engage in sexual activity weekly or monthly have a reduced risk of premature menopause compares to those who had some form of sexual activity less than monthly.

Who would have thought that women who are more sexually active would retain fertility for much longer than women who have sex less frequently? Basically, what this means is that women have to use it or lose it!

Sexual activity and premature menopause

Women who reported weekly sexual involvement were 28 per cent less likely to experience premature menopause relative to those who engaged in sexual activities less than monthly.

According to the study’s first author, PhD candidate Megan Arnot, there exists a biological energy trade-off when a woman ceases to engage in sexual activity.

The body then “chooses” not to invest energy into ovulation as there will be no chance of pregnancy. Interestingly, there was no correlation between sexual frequency and early menopause to the presence or absence of a male partner.

A male partner therefore did not play any proxy role—whether proximity to male pheromones slowed down menopause—to menopause timing. However, this does not mean that sexually active women wouldn’t got through menopause.

 Smoking cigarettes is likely to ause premature menopause (Image: Shutterstock)

What causes premature menopause?

It can occur spontaneously or can be induced by:

·         Chemotherapy and surgical procedures

·          Infection

·         Autoimmune diseases

·         Cigarette smoking

 Symptoms of premature menopause include:

·         Low sex drive

·         Irregular or missed periods

·         Changes in heaviness of menses

·         Bladder incontinence

·         Insomnia

·         Memory issues

·         Thinning hair

·         Vaginal dryness on top of the normal menopause symptoms

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