Tuesday February 25, 2020

Women Who Have Less Sex Experience an Early Menopause: Study

Having less sex linked to earlier menopause

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Women who reported having sexual activity weekly were 28 per cent less likely to have experienced menopause than those who had sex less than once a month. Lifetime Stock

Women who have sex more often are less likely to have an early menopause, researchers say, adding that women who reported having sexual activity weekly were 28 per cent less likely to have experienced menopause than those who had sex less than once a month.

While the study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, didn’t look at the reason for the link, the researchers said that the physical cues of sex may signal to the body that there is a possibility of getting pregnant.

But for women who aren’t having sex frequently in midlife, an earlier menopause may make more biological sense, the study said.

“The findings of our study suggest that if a woman is not having sex, and there is no chance of pregnancy, then the body ‘chooses’ not to invest in ovulation, as it would be pointless,” said study researcher Megan Arnot from University College London in the US.

“There may be a biological energetic trade-off between investing energy into ovulation and investing elsewhere, such as keeping active by looking after grandchildren,” Arnot added.

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Women who aren’t having sex frequently in midlife, an earlier menopause may make more biological sense. Lifetime Stock

During ovulation, the woman’s immune function is impaired, making the body more susceptible to disease, the study said.

Given a pregnancy is unlikely due to a lack of sexual activity, then it would not be beneficial to allocate energy to a costly process, especially if there is the option to invest resources into existing kin.

The research is based on data collected from 2,936 women, recruited as the baseline cohort for the SWAN study in 1996/1997.

The women were asked to respond to several questions, including whether they had engaged in sex with their partner in the past six months, the frequency of sex including whether they engaged in sexual intercourse, oral sex, sexual touching or caressing in the last six months and whether they had engaged in self-stimulation in the past six months.

The most frequent pattern of sexual activity was weekly (64 per cent).

Interviews were carried out over a ten-year follow-up period, during which 1,324 (45 per cent) of the 2,936 women experienced a natural menopause at an average age of 52.

By modelling the relationship between sexual frequency and the age of natural menopause, women of any age who had sex weekly had a hazard ratio of 0.72, whereas women of any age who had sex monthly had a hazard ratio of 0.81.

This provided a likelihood whereby women of any age who had sex weekly were 28 per cent less likely to experience the menopause compared to those who had sex less than monthly.

Likewise, those who had sex monthly were 19 per cent less likely to experience menopause at any given age compared to those who had sex less than monthly.

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The study also tested whether living with a male partner affected menopause as a proxy to test whether exposure to male pheromones delayed menopause.

The researchers found no correlation, regardless of whether the male was present in the household or not. (IANS)

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Here’s How Dairy Milk Consumption Can Lead to Breast Cancer

Dairy milk intake may up breast cancer risk

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Moderate amounts of dairy milk consumption can increase women's risk of breast cancer -- up to 80 per cent depending on the amount consumed. Pixabay

Researchers have found that even relatively moderate amounts of dairy milk consumption can increase women’s risk of breast cancer — up to 80 per cent depending on the amount consumed.

“Fairly strong evidence that either dairy milk or some other factor closely related to drinking dairy milk is a cause of breast cancer in women,” said study first author Gary E. Fraser from Loma Linda University in the US. “Consuming as little as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 per cent,” Fraser said.

By drinking up to one cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50 per cent, and for those drinking two to three cups per day, the risk increased further to 70 per cent to 80 per cent, the researchers said. For the findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, dietary intakes of nearly 53,000 North American women were evaluated for the study, all of whom were initially free of cancer and were followed for nearly eight years.

Dietary intakes were estimated from food frequency questionnaires (FFQ), also repeated 24 hour recalls, and a baseline questionnaire had questions about demographics, family history of breast cancer, physical activity, alcohol consumption, hormonal and other medication use, breast cancer screening, and reproductive and gynecological history.

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Consuming as little as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 per cent. Pixabay

By the end of the study period, there were 1,057 new breast cancer cases during follow-up. No clear associations were found between soy products and breast cancer, independent of dairy. But, when compared to low or no milk consumption, higher intakes of dairy calories and dairy milk were associated with greater risk of breast cancer, independent of soy intake, the study said.

The researchers noted that the results had minimal variation when comparing intake of full fat versus reduced or nonfat milks; there were no important associations noted with cheese and yogurt.

“However,” he said, “dairy foods, especially milk, were associated with increased risk, and the data predicted a marked reduction in risk associated with substituting soymilk for dairy milk.”

According to the researchers, possible reasons for these associations between breast cancer and dairy milk may be the sex hormone content of dairy milk, as the cows are of course lactating, and often about 75 per cent of the dairy herd is pregnant. Breast cancer in women is a hormone-responsive cancer.

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Further, intake of dairy and other animal proteins in some reports is also associated with higher blood levels of a hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is thought to promote certain cancers. “Dairy does have some positive nutritional qualities, but these need to be balanced against other possible, less helpful effects,” Fraser concluded. (IANS)