Past studies have shown that women who go through menopause before the age of 45 have an increased risk of early death, cognitive decline, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Menopause, which includes symptoms like weight gain, skin changes, mood changes and hot flashes, happens, on average, to women in the U.S. at the age of 52. It will stop a woman’s period completely.
So, what things can keep a woman from going through early menopause?
According to a study by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
An analysis of the study showed that women who breastfeed their infants for seven to 12 months may have a significantly lower risk of early menopause than women who breastfed for less than a month.
“The study results provide the strongest evidence to date that exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk of early menopause,” said Dr. Lisa Halvorson, chief of the NICHD Gynecological Health and Disease Branch, which oversaw the research.
Researchers gathered and analyzed data from more than 100,000 women ages 25-42 in the Nurses’ Health Study II.
Here’s how it broke down: