Analysis of reliable questionnaires from over 100 patients at the menopause clinic at Baranya County Teaching Hospital in Pcs, revealed that the spring and autumn equinoxes played a conspicuous role in the timing of the menopause.
"We found that there was a high peak after the spring equinox and another, lower one, after the autumn equinox," said research leader Dr Jnos Garai.
Of the 102 women whose questionnaires were analysed, 72 remembered the exact month that their menstrual periods stopped, while 30 could recall only the season.
The results for the seasonal distribution of the first missed bleeding in the peri-menopause were:
Said Dr Garai: "Seasonal variations of reproductive functions in wild animals are well known, and similar but not so definite seasonal trends have been described for humans. The menopause is a complex set of symptoms that we know is determined partly by external and partly by internal influences, but there are only scarce data about the exact nature of environmental and/or lifestyle determinants. So we wanted to find out more in the hope that this might help in the future in implementing innovative approaches to treating problems in the menopause."
"The seasonality we found seems to support the influence of environmental factors on female human reproductive functions even when they are declining. The pattern of the peaks following the equinoxes appears to be similar to the bimodal distribution of conceptions in Eastern Europe," he said.
The questionnaires recorded responses to a wide rang
Contact: Margaret Willson
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology