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Menopause Symptoms Set by ... Birthday?

Fewer Hot Flashes, Less Anxiety in Autumn-Born Women
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 21, 2006 -- Women born in autumn have the fewest menopausal symptoms. Women born in spring and summer have the most, an Italian study shows.

Angelo Cagnacci, MD, and colleagues at the University Hospital Clinics of Modena, Ferrara, and Parma, have collected data on more than 14,000 women seeking help for menopausal symptoms. To see if season of birth had any effect, they analyzed information from 2,581 women who had completed menopausemenopause without hormone therapy.

Why would they do this? Cagnacci and colleagues point to studies suggesting that the season in which you are born seems to affect:

  • Lifespan. It's longest for those born in autumn.
  • Birth weight. Highest for those born in autumn.
  • Later menopause. Latest in those born in autumn.
  • Fetal outcome. Best for babies born in autumn.

That pattern apparently continues for women's experience of menopause. Cagnacci and colleagues found that women born in autumn said they had significantly fewer physical symptoms of menopause and less anxiety during menopause than women born in all other seasons.

These children of the fall also had fewer menopause-linked psychological symptoms and less depressiondepression than did women born in spring and summer but not those born in winter.

"These data are among the first to find a possible relationship between season of birth and psychological disturbances during menopause," Cagnacci and colleagues conclude. "These findings may indicate a possible role of prenatal environmental factors on adult life experiences, but clearly require confirmation in additional studies."

The researchers report their findings in the July/August issue of Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

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