Pregnancy and breastfeeding can protect against early menopause

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By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, February 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Both pregnancy and breastfeeding can protect women against early menopause, recent research suggests.

The risk was lower among those who exclusively breastfed, which means that the baby only received breast milk, without liquids or solid foods. Early menopause is the end of menstruation before age 45, the study authors said.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 108,000 American women enrolled in the current Nurses Health Study II, which began in 1989.

"In our study, women with three or more pregnancies who exclusively breastfed for a total of seven to 12 months had a 32% lower risk of early menopause compared to women with the same number of children who exclusively breastfed for less than one month. month, "said the first author of the study Christine Langton. She is a doctor. student of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Compared to women without term pregnancies, women who had two pregnancies had a 16% lower risk of early menopause and women with three pregnancies had a 22% lower risk, the findings showed.

The study was published online recently in JAMA Network Open.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding generally prevent ovulation and can delay the natural depletion of ovarian follicles over time, which reduces the risk of early menopause, according to the researchers. But the study did not show a cause and effect relationship.

Early menopause is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, mental deterioration and osteoporosis.

"Our findings on breastfeeding not only add a new insight into ways to prevent early menopause, but they align very well with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization that American women feed exclusively to their babies with breast milk for at least six months and continue to breastfeed for up to a year, "Langton said in a university press release.

"Our study is very strong due to the large sample size, 26 years of follow-up and prospective design. In addition, at the beginning of the study we limited our study to premenopausal women, which is a key point," he said. .

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SOURCE: University of Massachusetts Amherst, press release, January 22, 2020

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