Age at natural menopause and its associated factors in Canada: cross-sectional analyses from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

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Abstract

Background:

Early onset of menopause is associated with long-term disease and higher mortality risks. Research suggests that age at natural menopause (ANM) varies across populations. Little is known about factors that affect ANM in Canadian women.

Objective:

This study aims to estimate the median ANM and examine factors associated with earlier ANM among Canadian women.

Methods:

Baseline data from the Tracking cohort of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging was used for this analysis. The relation of sociodemographic, lifestyle, and health-related factors with ANM was examined among 7,719 women aged 40 and above. Nonparametric Kaplan-Meier cumulative survivorship estimates were used to assess the timing of natural menopause. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to characterize ANM and its association with relevant covariates.

Results:

Overall, median ANM was 51 years. Having no partner, low household income and education levels, current and former smoking, and cardiovascular disease were all associated with an earlier ANM, whereas current employment, alcohol consumption, and obesity were associated with later ANM.

Conclusions:

These findings provide a national estimate of ANM in Canada and show the importance of lifestyle factors and health conditions in determining menopausal age. These factors might help in risk assessment, prevention and early management of chronic disease risk during the menopausal transition.

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