A new study indicates that there is a link between early menopause and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This is important news, particularly because researchers may be able to figure out why women are 2-4 times more likely to have CFS than men and why it mostly affects women in their 40’s, according to researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Margery Gass, executive director of the North American Menopause Society says that CFS “can take a tremendous toll on women’s lives at midlife” as well as on society and the health care system. She believes that awareness of this association can help providers in assisting these women in sorting out the symptoms of CFS from those of menopause.
Researchers were unable to figure out whether one condition causes the other or if there’s something else that may be causing both early menopause and CFS. The study, which was published online in the journal Menopause, included 84 women and a control group of 73 women who were healthy, in Georgia. They offered information about their gynecological health.
In comparison to the women in the control group, the women with CFS were/had:
- 12 times more likely to experience pain in their pelvis unrelated to menstruation
- Significantly more likely to have excessive menstrual bleeding (74% vs. 42%)
- More likely to experience bleeding between periods (49% vs. 23%)
- More likely to miss periods (38% vs. 22%)
- More likely to use hormones not for birth control purposes (57% vs. 26%)
- At least one gynecologic surgery (66% vs. 32%), most commonly a hysterectomy (55% vs. 19%)
It was also shown that women with CFS were more likely to experience hysterectomy-related menopause, at age 45 or earlier, than the women in the control group, and bleeding was the primary reason and more common for those with CFS having a hysterectomy. In general, women with CFS naturally experienced menopause earlier than those in the control group, but without a significant difference to the control group.
According to authors of the study, this is the first that has linked CFS with early menopause. Previous studies have connected CFS with gynecologic conditions such as menstrual abnormalities and endometriosis, and pelvic pain.