New hormone data can predict menopause within a year

Oct 27, 2008

For many women, including the growing number who choose later-in-life pregnancy, predicting their biological clock's relation to the timing of their menopause and infertility is critically important.

Now, investigators from the University of Michigan have provided new information about hormonal biomarkers that can address the beginning of the menopause transition.

"In the end, this information can change the way we do business," said MaryFran Sowers, professor in the U-M School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology. "The information provides a roadmap as to how fast women are progressing through the different elements of their reproductive life."

A research team headed by Sowers examined the naturally occurring changes in three different biomarkers over the reproductive life of more than 600 women: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and inhibin B.

Researchers found that the biomarker AMH declined to a very low or non-measurable level five years prior to the final menstrual period. This decline pinpoints a critical juncture in which a woman probably has so few follicles (eggs) that her fertility becomes increasingly questionable, Sowers said. They found that the changes in AMH and inhibin B concentrations were predictive of the time to menopause.

The research team also measured and reported the rates of change in FSH and used the information to identify different reproductive stages. Based on a woman's age and the level of FSH in the blood, researchers were able to describe four different stages that occur for women from their late reproductive period to the time of their final menstrual period.

While clinicians have the ability to measure these hormones now, they haven't had the kind of information about AMH, inhibin B or FSH collected on a large group of women over time to know how to relate levels or changes in the levels to fertility or to a menopause endpoint.

"People really want information about how long do I have and when will I have my final menstrual period," Sowers said. "Now we are beginning to say, 'If you have a specific FSH level combined with your age, this is the likelihood that you are in this reproductive stage.'

"We finally have numbers from enough women evaluated over a long time period to describe the reproductive aging process. It begins to give women and clinicians an expanded way to look at menses and endocrine events in terms of reproductive progression."

Sowers said additional study results have been submitted to describe the amount of bone loss that occurs at the different FSH stages.Thus, if women and clinicians know where women are in the various reproductive stages, it will further their understanding of the likely health implications associated with each stage.

Source: University of Michigan

Explore further: Everest trek shows how some people get type 2 diabetes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Siri's abortion info flap: Blame it on Beta, says Apple

Dec 01, 2011

Siri is the intelligent iPhone personal assistant smart enough to give you an answer just by asking—unless your question is where to find the closest abortion clinic. In a fast and furious go-round this ...

Turbulent nature of menopause triggered by gene battles

Dec 10, 2013

The hormonal mayhem, reduced fertility and hot flushes experienced by a woman in the run up to menopause may owe to warfare between her own genes, according to a team of scientists working in the United Kingdom ...

New book explores evolution of human reproduction

Aug 20, 2013

Human beings would probably be known as pilosals rather than mammals if Carl Linnaeus had not been a proponent of breast-feeding. For social and political reasons, the famed taxonomist labeled the class of ...

Recommended for you

Researchers transplant regenerated oesophagus

19 hours ago

Tissue engineering has been used to construct natural oesophagi, which in combination with bone marrow stem cells have been safely and effectively transplanted in rats. The study, published in Nature Communications, shows ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...