Menopause is a natural, inevitable event in a woman’s life in which reproductive function and menstrual periods cease. A woman is considered to be in menopause when she has no menstrual periods for one year. This phenomenon occurs because the ovaries stop producing the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Numerous factors influence the onset of menopause, including environmental and physiological factors, chronological age, age of the mother at menopause, characteristics of the menstrual cycle, smoking, chemotherapy, ovarian surgery, endocrine alterations and genetic factors derived from Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs).
A person’s SNPs can be studied by means of a DNA test, in this way it is possible to know if a woman has genetic variations related to an early onset of menopause or a late onset. It is important to know the probability of having early menopause in order to program her offspring, in case she wants to have them.
The changes that a woman’s body undergoes at this stage are many and varied. The most visible is the physical change that can be experienced, the metabolic changes that occur can cause an increase in body fat or its distribution to various parts of the body. This first change may increase the risk of diabetes or cardiovascular problems.
On the other hand, women experience insomnia and hot flashes. These symptoms are considered the main ones and can last for several years. This leads to alterations in mood, such as tiredness, lack of concentration, irritability or anxiety. There are drugs that can help mitigate these symptoms.
During menopause there is a loss of female hormones, such as estrogens. These hormones have a protective action on the bones. One effect that can result from menopause is osteoporosis, i.e. decalcification of the bones, which leads to a reduction in bone mass and can cause bone fractures.
However, some genetic variations have been studied in postmenopausal women addressing cardiovascular risk and osteoporosis. Therefore, if a woman has had a genetic test, she can know if she has these SNPs by knowing her susceptibility to the development of these alterations.
Menopause is an inevitable physiological condition whose incidence is constantly increasing, due to the aging of the population. This stage has a considerable impact on a woman’s life, since the changes that occur range from mild and easily bearable to manifestations that can interfere with the normal functioning of a woman’s life.
The likelihood of some of the complications increases if genetic polymorphisms are present. A genetic test is a helpful tool at all stages of life, providing valuable information to take early action against the inevitable changes brought about by menopause.