Factors Influencing Age of Menopause

Although most women go through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, the age at which a woman goes through her personal menopause depends on multiple variable factors, lifelong experiences, and epigenetics (environmental influences). Menopause is extremely individualized at all levels.

Let’s define age of menopause: early menopause is between age 40 and 44, premature menopause is before age 40 and late menopause is after age 55. Risks for heart disease and alzheimer’s and dementia appear to be increased for those who experience menopause prior to age 54. Late menopause, after age 55, is associated with lower risks of heart disease and dementia.

What Factors Play a Role In Age of Menopause?

In about 50% of women, genetics play a role in the age of onset of menopause. However, the age in which a woman goes through menopause depends on multiple epigenetic factors like: use of birth control, diet and nutrition, smoking, body mass index, number of pregnancies, alcohol intake, physical activity, blood lead levels, exposure to sunlight, and many other socioeconomic factors.

Women who are smokers or have a history of smoking enter menopause at an early age as do those with higher physical activity. Women who smoked at early age ( by 16 years old) have a 51% chance of early menopause. Women who smoked in their 30’s or had gynecological problems in their 30’s have a 68% higher rate of menopause before the age of 45.

The lower number of pregnancies or no pregnancies is associated with early menopause as is high serum ferritin (iron storage levels) and high blood lead levels and low bone density. Women who were breastfed for less than a month or whose father’s worked manual jobs had higher rate of early menopause.

And of course, oophorectomies (surgical removal of ovaries), chemotherapy and certain infections often induce early menopause.

The Gift of Menopause

Menopause is not an exact science nor a disease that needs to be prevented. It is a divine gift. Every woman experiences menopause differently and at a different age, personalized to their life experiences and epigenetic factors. Menopause is a journey – an opportunity to transform ourselves. It is a gift to transform our physical, mental, social and spiritual outlook into a better version of ourselves. It is not a stage to grieve but a time to celebrate. Menopause is an opportunity to resolve the unresolved, to heal the unhealed and to awaken the inner beauty and wisdom within ourselves.




Ceylon et al, Factors affecting age of onset of menopause and determination of quality of life in menopause, Marc 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5558404/

Peycheva et al, Risk factors for natural menopause before the age of 45: evidence from two British population-based birth cohort studies Nov. 2022 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9644638/

Dr. Nooshin K. Darvish is a Washington board-licensed Naturopathic Doctor, certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine with a Fellowship in Integrative Cancer Therapies. She is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Holistique Naturopathic Medical Center and Holistique IV Lounge. A 1995 graduate, former Chief Resident, and an Affiliate Faculty of Bastyr University, with more than 25 years of clinical practice, Dr. Darvish practices Regenerative, Naturopathic, and Integrative medicine with a passion to assist patients in their transformation towards physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. As a physician, writer, educator, lecturer, and speaker, her mission is to inspire others to become 'agents of transformation'.