Objectives: To examine whether a number of nutritional and familial factors were associated with menopausal development. Methods: A prospective postal survey amongst a random sample of 1227 women aged 47 to 51 who were premenopausal in a cross-sectional survey 2 years previously. Women were classed into three groups: premenopause (regular menstruation); irregular menstruation; postmenopausal (absence of menstrual cycle for at least 6 months). Proportional odds regression was used to identify those factors which were independently predictive of subsequent menopausal development. Results: There was an 80% (n = 983) survey response rate. After exclusion of current HRT users (n = 178), 150 (19%) women were postmenopausal 277 (34%) had erratic menstruation and 378 (47%) were premenopause. There were significant univariate associations between menopausal status and age (P < 0.001), age of maternal menopause (P = 0.006), alcohol consumption (P = 0.005) and social class (P = 0.03). Maternal age and alcohol consumption were significantly correlated with estradiol levels (r = 0.45, P = 0.02, and r = 0.61, P = 0.02 for maternal age and alcohol consumption, respectively). In proportional odds regression analysis, age, maternal menopausal age, alcohol consumption and smoking were independently associated with menopausal status. Conclusions: These results suggest that, (1) there is a strong familial association in menopausal age, and (2) moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with delayed menopausal development.
Bibliographical noteThe National Primary Care Research and Development Centre is supported by the Department of Health and the Health Services Research Unit is supported by the Chief Scientist Office the
Scottish Office Department of Health (SODH). Ruth Thomas acknowledges funding from the Wolfson Foundation. David Reid thanks the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council for continued
support. Funding for the study was from the SODH and the Wolfson Foundation. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the funding bodies.