Peninsula Logo Early menopause is an issue reported by many women, in fact UK itself has one in 20 women going through this issue. Scientists at the University of Exeter Peninsula Medical School and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) anticipate that a test can help determine a woman’s reproductive lifespan. It has been suggested that a woman’s ability to conceive reduces ten years before the onset of menopause.

While initiating the Breakthrough Generations Study, authors tested four genes correlated with the menopause. Apparently, these genes affect risk of early menopause. 2,000 women experiencing early menopause were compared with a matched group of the same number. For the next 40 years, the study will be following 100,000 UK women participants to determine lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors leading to breast cancer.

Dr. Anna Murray, from the University of Exeter Peninsula Medical School, and the lead author added, “It is estimated that a woman’s ability to conceive decreases on average ten years before she starts the menopause. Therefore, those who are destined to have an early menopause and delay childbearing until their 30s are more likely to have problems conceiving. These findings are the first stage in developing an easy and relatively inexpensive genetic test which could help the one in 20 UK women who may be affected by early menopause.”

Early menopause is known to be linked with a decreased risk of breast cancer. However, women facing early menopause may be vulnerable to health problems such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and a reduction in fertility. Findings can aid women to determine whether they have a genetic predisposition to early menopause. Inclusion of a potential test can predict the end of a woman’s reproductive life.

The study was published in Human Molecular Genetics.