By Makini Brice
Researchers warn that chemicals in cosmetics, plastics, and household cleaners could be causing women to go through menopause early.
Researchers from the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri looked at data from 5,708 women who had been participants in the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Women who had been exposed to high amounts of certain chemicals were likely to undergo menopause as much as two years early - a change from 51 years old, the average age for the onset of menopause in the United States, to 49 years old.
But, as study author Natalia Grindler explained at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's conference held in San Diego, some women began menopause as much as 15 years older. That could place the start of menopause for some women as early as their mid-thirties.
The culprits are phthalates. Researchers analyzed the blood or urine levels of the substance, and found that women with high levels of phthalates were more likely to undergo menopause early than their peers.
Early menopause has been linked with increased rates for bone loss, brain hemorrhages, heart problems, and strokes.
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