Tuesday Aug 16, 2022
Tuesday Aug 16, 2022

New study suggests working shifts may delay the onset of menopause

2022 Mar 28, 14:38, Washington
Representative Image Photo: ANI

Non-traditional shifts can disturb lifestyle and sleeping habits and it is also known that they have a negative effect on employees' health. A new study has revealed that it also may delay the onset of natural menopause, possibly because of disruptions in circadian rhythms.

The study was published in the journal, 'Menopause'.

Shift work has increased globally in recent years, with an estimated 20 percent of the economically active population in North America and Europe working some type of non-traditional or alternating shifts. Although shift work has become an economic necessity to keep up with the increased demand for goods and services, it is not without health risks.

Previous studies have linked shift work with an increased risk of coronary events, with the highest risk being associated with night shifts. Other related health problems include peptic ulcers, type 2 diabetes, and cancers such as prostate, colorectal, and breast.

Although previous studies have shown the various adverse health effects of shift work on working adults, there has been little research on the effect of shift work on middle-aged and older adults.

Age at natural menopause is a matter of concern for middle-aged and older women, because both early or late menopause may be a significant risk marker for subsequent morbidity and mortality. Environmental factors such as smoking, parity, and socioeconomic status have previously been identified to be strongly associated with variations in age at natural menopause.

Researchers have hypothesized that a factor that may affect the age at menopause is shift work, as previous studies have suggested a possible effect of circadian rhythm disruption on ovulation and fertility.

In addition, excessive exposure to artificial light during dark hours has been documented to cause melatonin suppression that, in turn, leads to disruption of ovarian activity. To date, little has been documented regarding the relationship between shift work and age at natural menopause.

This new study, based on secondary data analyses of nearly 3,700 premenopausal women, aimed to investigate the association between shift work exposure and variations in age at natural menopause in adult Canadian workers.

"This study shows a potential influence of circadian regulation on age at natural menopause, with current rotating shift work linked to later age at menopause and current night shift work linked to earlier age at menopause," said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

"Whether these differences in age at menopause are directly related to the effect of circadian rhythm changes on underlying hypothalamic regulation or are because of other sociodemographic factors such as chronic stress, economic insecurity, and substance use or abuse requires further study," she concluded. 


Lifestyle health menopause shift work health risks type 2 diabetes cancers menstruation
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