A recent research by Hungarian fertility experts has revealed that the onset of the menopause may not be dictated only by the fact that a woman's lifetime supply of eggs are running low, but also by changes in the seasons.
Dr. Garai and his colleagues analyzed questionnaires of 102 women at the menopause clinic at Baranya County Teaching Hospital in Pécs.
Seventy two of them remembered the exact month that their periods stopped, while 30 could recall only the season. Women were also asked about a wide range of lifestyle and environmental factors, such as diet and exercise. On the chart on the right you can see the results of the study.
The study, published on June, 2004, showed that the spring and autumn equinoxes played a role in when women experience menopause.
"We found that there was a high peak after the spring equinox and another, lower one, after the autumn equinox," said Dr. Janos Garai, of the Baranya County Teaching Hospital in Pecs, Hungary.
Dr János Garai said, "The seasonality we found seems to support the influence of environmental factors on female human reproductive functions even when they are declining."
No one has ever looked into whether the time of first missed bleeding shows any correlation with the severity or the frequency of hot flushes, or with the proportion
women that remember first missed bleed
Recurrence of cessation
of Menstrual Cycles
(menopause) and Seasons
of women who have them.
Gaining more in depth knowledge might eventually lead to more efficient ways of dealing with menopausal problems.
The authors of the report say that the triggering factors and the mediators involved need further research. However, melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, which is generally accepted to play a role in the circadian rhythm (the 24 hour time clock that governs different physiological processes), could be involved.
Until recently it was thought that melatonin acted only through the pituitary gland in the brain. But melatonin receptors have also been found throughout the reproductive system.
Dr Garai said: "It is plausible that menopause process is not just due to the ovaries no longer being able to produce developing egg follicles that provide an adequate hormone supply. Rather, it can be perceived as the ovaries - governed by several internal and external factors affected by climatic conditions such as length of day, temperature and humidity." He said, "While the increased frequency of hot flushes in the summer could be explained by the weather, seasons could have more subtle effects on menopausal symptoms."
Written by: Natural-Progesterone-Estrogen-Supplements.com
Sources: Garai Janos, et al. "Short communication: Seasonal onset of menopause?" Human Reproduction, v19 (July 2004)