It can make you undergo menopause earlier and that's bad news.
As much as you hated always having to go through that time of the month and wished to get rid of it as soon as possible, early menopausal (a.k.a. your dream come true) comes with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline.
Up to 10 per cent of women today are affected by early menopausal and a new study may just have found one reason why: being underweight. With the rising trend of being "lean" and almost always having to lose weight, we can all see why this is a problem.
Researchers classed women as underweight given that they had a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 or lower. Analyzing health data of nearly 79,000 women tracked for 22 years, they found a 30 per cent increased risk for those underweight of undergoing menopause before the age of 45.
Moreover, being underweight by 35 can increase your chance of having early menopause by 59 per cent while those who had a BMI less than 17.5 at age 18 have 50 per cent risk. What's more is that extreme teenage weight loss seemed to strongly add up to this: 18 to 20 year old women who lost 20 pounds or more at least three times have more than twice the risk of having premature menopause.
“Our findings suggest that women who are underweight in early or mid-adulthood may be at increased risk for early menopause,” says Kathleen Szegda, at the University of Massachusetts, who led the study. "Underweight women may want to consider discussing the potential implications of these findings with their doctors,” says Szegda.
“The risks of being overweight are generally better understood, but women often don’t realise the potential hormone complications of being very underweight, even in younger years,” says Kathy Abernathy, of the British Menopause Society. “The findings of this study highlight the need for women to maintain a healthy weight across all ages.”
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