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What Triggers Early & Premature Menopause? Researcher Decodes Major Findings

Sampurna Kundu, a PhD scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, breaks down the findings of her new study.

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Video Editor :Nitin Bisht

Nearly 4 percent of women in India aged between 29-34 years experience premature menopause. For women aged between 35-39 years, the number goes up to 8 percent, a survey conducted in 2023 by The Institute for Social and Economic Change showed.

These numbers might seem miniscule, but the health of thousands of women in India suffers due to early or premature menopause each year.

FIT sat down to chat with Sampurna Kundu, a PhD scholar at the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

She recently published a new study in  Scientific Reports by Nature Portfolio, titled Exploring the Triggers of Premature and Early Menopause in India: A Comprehensive Analysis Based on National Family Health Survey, 2019–2021.

Read the edited excerpts from the conversation below.

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Why did you look at the subject of inquiry? How was the study conducted?

The research and literature on this topic is very limited. So, to build on more empirical evidence, it was important to look at this topic – how the early onset of menopause impacts people, developing chronic diseases, and what is the overall effect on one’s quality of life.

I have used the last scale data from National Family Health Survey-5 which was conducted between 2019 and 2021. It's very rich, large-scale data which has helped me explore so many factors.

So, I've looked at the socio-demographic factors, lifestyle factors, reproductive factors, and anthropometric and biochemical factors.

What were the major findings of your study?

  • The residential factor, the economic background, their educational background, all of these socio-demographic factors, which we call the social determinants of health, affect a person's health. We found that there is a clear link between poverty and undernutrition.

Low BMI level has shown to be a significant factor affecting the age at menopause. Awareness is also low about menopause. So, all these have a compounded effect. 

  • If women are taking a lot of emergency contraceptive pills and using contraceptive pills as the only method of contraception, that has a detrimental effect on reproductive health.

  • Distorted sleep patterns, unhealthy diet, consuming too much tobacco, and alcohol, are all lifestyle choices that have an effect on the age of menopause.

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Through the findings of your study, where do you think change is required to help address this issue?

The research and literature on this topic is very limited. So I think awareness and counselling about premature menopause is important.

I have analysed so many factors and each of the factors can actually be individual studies. There’s a need to explore it in depth and build on more literature and research, so that there is more strong evidence built up to reform the healthcare systems which can cater to menopause.

Right now we see that women's health is often bracketed only within reproductive health. It has to be more than that. The entire menopause realm should also be covered.

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Topics:  Menopause   Early Menopause 

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