Putting The “Men” In Menopause

Here is a new theory to think about, could it be possible that men have actually caused menopause?!

This isn’t a crazy theory from a woman mad at her husband either! An evolutionary geneticists at McMaster University has backed her new theory with computer models generated by colleagues in hopes that new research on the cause of menopause will be completed, and the way we think about menopause may change.

The new theory shows that men may have caused menopause by consistently choosing to mate with younger women.  Consistently choosing to mate with younger women may have resulted in accumulation of genetic mutations that stunt child bearing in later life.   The slow build-up of mutations resulting in the development of menopause as we know it, is hypothesized to have occurred over a period of 50,000-100,000 years!

The onset of menopause may be another case of which came first, the chicken or the egg?   Did men start choosing younger women causing an inability of older women to reproduce?   Or, were men forced to mate with younger women because older women couldn’t reproduce?    We may not know the answer for a very long time, if ever, but it is interesting to think about and knowing the answer would certainly change the way we view and likely the way we treat menopause and its symptoms.

If this new theory is correct then menopause isn’t a “natural part of aging”; instead, it is an age related condition and treating it with prescription hormone replacement therapy may become a more widely accepted practice.

The new theory can be added to a long list of theories that currently exist to explain why menopause occurs. Current scientific theories include:

  • women are born with a finite number of eggs
  • menopause is a product of the increasing human lifespan
  • menopause is a natural part of aging
  • menopause allows older women to contribute to the survival of their grandchildren
  • menopause is a trade-off between female future reproduction and offspring survival

While the cause of menopause remains to be known, this new theory certainly gives us something to think about!

If you would like to read the study “directly from the horses mouth” here is the link to the original article published in PLOS Computational Biology this past week.

If you or a spouse are interested in a consultation about menopause or women’s health, make an appointment with one of our pharmacists for a one on one session.  We will review your medical history any medication history as well as the many lifestyle issues that can also impact women’s health as well as menopause.  Give us a call at (403) 320-6500 (and select option 1 for the pharmacist) during our regular pharmacy hours.

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