15 October 2010
By Arun Dev
Indian women are now attaining menopause as early as at the age of 30, which puts them at a higher risk of being affected by osteoporosis, heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension and breast cancer, a study said.
The study conducted by Bangalore’s Institute for Social and Economic Change said that women living in rural areas were more prone to premature menopause.
The study, which was based on the National Family Health Survey information collected from a sample of more than 90,000 married women aged between 15 and 49 and covering 99% of India’s population living in 26 states, said 3.1% of Indian women were already in menopause by the age of 30-35, and the incidence rose to 8% for the age bracket of 35-39.
Although the report was an eye–opener to many, city doctors say women are not taking this issue seriously.
"Many of them consider this to be natural and are not aware of the problems related to this. When a woman stops having periods at the age of 30 or 35, instead of getting treatment for it, they tend to ignore it," said Dr Vidya Mani, secretary of Indian Menopause Society, Bangalore Chapter, and chief consultant of Lalbagh Nursing home.
According to her, premature menopause can lead to serious problems. "Early menopause may be a risk factor for diseases related to decreased estrogen levels and may promote increased incidence of osteoporosis, heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension and even breast cancer. Early symptoms are hot flashes, bone weakness, and mood swings,’’ said Dr Mani.
The process of natural menopause occurs between the age of 45 and 55.The average age worldwide for menopause is 52, but in the Indian scenario, it is around 40, which indicate the change in the numbers.
Apart from the prominent reasons such as intensive fertility treatments or chemotherapy, even daily stress could cause these problems, says doctors.
One of the main reasons for premature menopause is intensive fertility treatment. However, a good percentage is also caused by erratic lifestyle, increased stress levels, lack of nutrition.