Twin Sisters Are At High Risk of Early Menopause

woman doctor in office( — Twin sisters face triple the odds of entering menopause prematurely compared to women who don’t have a twin, researchers report. “It’s a three-to-five-fold increase in risk of having menopause before the age of 40,” said study lead author Roger Gosden,
director of reproductive biology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. However, he added, “We have to bear in mind that over 95 percent of women who are twins will still have menopause at the normal time. There shouldn’t be any general alarm.”

The study was published Wednesday in the Oct. 25 online edition of Human Reproduction.

Overall, about 1 percent of adult women have premature ovarian failure (POF), prompting menopause before the age of 40. Not only does this affect fertility, but it may also boost risks for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

The mean age of menopause is 50 to 52 years.

Gosden had already published research on a twin who underwent POF at age 14. The woman’s twin, however, remained fertile and was able to donate ovarian tissue to her sister for a transplant.

“It was that study that stimulated us to do this big survey and to find out how common early menopause is in identical twins and how often there may be discordances,” Gosden explained.