Menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age in a women’s life. The average age of women who stop menstruating is 51.4 years for the developed world. When menopause occurs after 55 years of age, it is considered as late menopause.
It is uncommon to find a woman menstruating naturally at her 60; however, the record for a last period is 62 years of age.
Late menopause can occur due to the many reasons including the ones given here.
Main Reasons For Late Menopause
Genes and Ethnicity
According to researchers, race and ethnicity can influence the time when a woman has menopause. The oldest natural mother is supposed to be British woman who delivered a boy at 59. Researchers have found that the Japanese women reveal a late average age of menopause while the Latina women had early menopause compared to the white, non-Latina American women. The study (SWAN) was done on more than 90,000 women in the U.S.
Apart from geography and culture, genes can also influence the menopause age. A family history of late-onset menopause (to mother and grandmother) can indicate the same to a woman.
Menopause arises out of hormonal imbalances in the body. It is a natural process occurring in a woman’s body and can vary from one woman to another. Too much estrogen can delay menopause. Estrogen and progesterone are the key hormones which enable menstruation and pregnancy.
The body starts preparing for menopause in advance through reduction of these hormones in a gradual way. However, when the body maintains the levels of these hormones and acts late in reducing their production, late menopause is the outcome.
Late menopause can also be the consequence of obesity. A research points out that most overweight women are susceptible to have late menopause. Having extra weight can shift the usual cycles and produce more hormones resulting in higher levels of estrogen and progesterone even at later years of life. Fat can produce estrogen over the years and delay menopause. The ideal BMI is below 30 for a woman with normal weight.
Menopause can also be affected by thyroid disorders. Thyroid regulates metabolism and its malfunction can have multiple effects on a woman’s reproductive system including menopause.
Multiple pregnancies can also be a reason for late menopause. However, it is not essentially observed that women undergoing multiple pregnancies will experience late menopause. A pregnancy affects the hormonal level in a woman’s body.
Women have been found to be giving birth even in early 50s, although rarely. This can also delay menopause due to the changing hormone level. Unless a woman experiences twelve months of no menstrual cycle, she is not said to have achieved menopause.
There can be other reasons, besides the one given here, resulting into late menopause. Higher cognitive levels in childhood can also account for late menopause, although there is no reason to support this.
Fibroids caused due to estrogen can also be a reason for late menopause. Late menopause may not be harmful for the body and its well being, but it is a good idea to check with your doctor if you anticipate any symptom.