Intergenerational violence exposure affects the age of menopause

Research on women's violence exposure is timely as the COVID pandemic has elevated rates of intimate partner violence and child abuse. A new study shows that a woman's collective violence exposure-; consisting of her own abuse and that of her child-; speeds up reproductive aging to result in an earlier age of menopause. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Violence exposure has previously been shown to be associated with an array of mental and physical health problems. Newer research is additionally revealing its connection with the pace of reproductive aging. Early menopause, particularly before age 45, is associated with increased risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, and premature death.

In addition, studies have shown that childhood sexual and physical abuse are associated with earlier menarche. Associations between violence and accelerated reproductive aging in the early and later life course of women are believed to work through the disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the body's response to stress. Previous studies, however, have been limited to focusing on the effect of a woman's own abuse.

This new study is one of the first to look at what is known as intergenerational violence exposure and its effect on the age of menopause. It was designed to evaluate how both maternal and child violence exposures will independently accelerate maternal menopause timing. It concluded that a mother's own childhood physical abuse and her child's sexual abuse were both associated with an earlier age of menopause. Specifically, mothers who were physically abused in childhood and have a child who experienced regular sexual abuse reached menopause 8.78 years earlier than mothers without a history of personal abuse or abuse of their child.

Study results are published in the article "Association between intergenerational violence exposure and maternal age of menopause."

This study underscores the devastating effect of exposure to violence that is known to affect subsequent generations. The health-related burden of intergenerational violence is substantial and includes the possibility of early onset menopause and the associated potential long-term adverse health outcomes. Addressing this issue will require involvement of multiple sectors and necessitate social change, as well as updated policies and education."

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director

Source:
Journal reference:

Foster, H., et al. (2022) Association between intergenerational violence exposure and maternal age at menopause. Menopause. doi.org/10.1097/GME.0000000000001923.

Comments

  1. Frank Sterle Frank Sterle Canada says:

    Too many people will procreate regardless of their questionable ability to raise their children in a psychologically functional/healthy manner. Being free nations, society cannot prevent anyone from bearing children; society can, however, educate all young people for the most important job ever, even those high-schoolers who plan to remain childless. ...

    I sometimes wonder how much immense long-term suffering by children of dysfunctional rearing might have been prevented had the parent(s) received, as high school students, some crucial child development science education by way of mandatory curriculum. After all, dysfunctional and/or abusive parents, for example, may not have had the chance to be anything else due to their lack of such education and their own dysfunctional/abusive rearing as children. If nothing else, such curriculum could offer students an idea/clue as to whether they’re emotionally suited for the immense responsibility and strains of parenthood.

    If physically survived, emotional and/or psychological trauma from unhindered toxic abuse, sexual or otherwise, usually results in a helpless child's brain improperly developing. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it can act as a starting point into a life in which the brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines. It's like a form of non-physical-impact brain damage.

    The lasting mental pain is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one's head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, which tends to elicit sympathy/empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is treated with some form of medicating, either prescribed or illicit.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post
You might also like...
Complications, pathophysiology, and treatment of type 2 diabetes differ by sex