Paternal smoking linked to menopause age in daughters

Thu Jun 2, 2011 11:24am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - If men smoke when their partners are pregnant, their daughters may end up reaching menopause about a year earlier than their peers, according to a study.

Previous research has found that a woman's own smoking habits, as well as those of her partner, may also have an impact on her fertility and may precipitate the point at which she can no longer get pregnant.

"It seems that the effect of paternal smoking on daughters' reproductive lifespan is stronger than that of (her) husband smoking," said Misao Fukuda, at the M&K Health Institute in Ako, Japan, in an email.

Fukuda said it is possible that smoke exposure around the time of conception could affect either the fertilizing capacity of sperm cells or early embryo genesis -- or both.

For the study, published in Fertility and Sterility, Fukuda and colleagues questioned more than 1,000 postmenopausal Japanese women who were visiting clinics for gynecologic exams. They asked them how old they were at menarche and menopause, as well as whether they or their husbands smoked.

The women were also asked if their own mothers or fathers had smoked when the mothers were pregnant.

Overall, the mean age at menopause was 51 -- but women who were smokers themselves hit menopause an average of about 14 months earlier than those who didn't.

When their husbands smoked, they went through menopause about five months earlier, though the results were not statistically significant.

But women whose fathers smoked while they were in the womb stopped having their periods about 13 months earlier than those whose fathers were non-smokers, the study found.   Continued...