Suppose you knew from an early age how old you’d be when you started menopause: Would you adjust your life plans accordingly?
That’s the tantalizing question raised by unpublished research presented last month at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome.
Scientists have found that a simple blood test conducted early in a woman’s reproductive life can predict the age at which she will enter menopause.
According to a press release announcing the presentation, lead researcher Fahimeh Ramezani Tehrani and her team took blood samples from 266 women ages 20 to 49 and measured concentrations of anti-Mullerian hormone, or AMH, which is produced by cells in ovaries. They repeated the tests twice more, at three-year intervals, and used the data to devise a model that ended up accurately predicting, based on AMH levels, the age at which the 63 women in the study who actually went into menopause during the study reached that milestone.
The test missed the mark by an average of a third of a year, the release says, with a margin of error of three to four years. The average age of menopause among women in the study was 52 years.
While Tehrani notes that further, larger studies are needed to validate her findings, the press release quotes her as saying:
“We believe that our estimates of ages at menopause based on AMH levels are of sufficient validity to guide medical practitioners in their day-to-day practice, so that they can help women with their family planning.”
The readers voted: In an online poll, 336 readers responded to the question, “Would knowing early on what age you would reach menopause make you plan your life accordingly?” 54 percent said yes, 41 percent said no and 5 percent chose “other.”