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Mother's menopausal age is associated with her daughter's early follicular phase urinary follicle-stimulating hormone level

Steiner, Anne Z. MD, MPH1; Baird, Donna D. PhD2; Kesner, James S. PhD3

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31816429e5

Objective: Early follicular phase follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a marker of ovarian reserve, has been used to predict time to menopause. A mother's age at menopause is related to her daughter's age at menopause, possibly because of genetic factors. In this study we sought to determine the relationship between maternal age at menopause and early follicular phase FSH of premenopausal daughters.

Design: The Uterine Fibroid Study enrolled women randomly selected from a prepaid health plan, collected questionnaire data, and obtained early follicular phase urine samples for a subset of participants. For this secondary analysis, premenopausal women between the ages of 35 and 46 years, who provided a urine sample on cycle day 2, 3, 4, or 5 and their mother's age at natural menopause (n = 182) were selected from the original cohort. Initially bivariate analysis and subsequently regression modeling were performed to assess the independent relationship between maternal age at menopause and urinary creatinine-corrected FSH.

Results: Unadjusted analyses and those adjusting for age (mean ± SD, 40.5 ± 3.2 y), smoking status (16% current smokers), and body mass index (26.8 ± 6.9 kg/m2) showed a significant association between maternal age at menopause and daughter's urinary FSH level (P < 0.04). Women whose mothers experienced earlier menopause had higher urinary FSH levels.

Conclusions: The significantly increased FSH values among women whose mothers experienced early menopause is consistent with previously reported associations between mother's and daughter's age of menopause. FSH, a marker of ovarian reserve, is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Future epidemiologic studies on FSH should include collection of information on maternal age at menopause.

Maternal age at menopause is a significant predictor of urinary follicle-stimulating hormone, a marker of ovarian aging.

From the 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC; 2Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, NC; and 3Biomonitoring and Health Assessment Branch, Division of Applied Research and Technology, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH.

Received October 4, 2007; revised and accepted December 4, 2007.

Financial disclosure: None reported.

Funding/support: This study was funded as intramural research at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences with support from the Office of Research on Minority Health and by Women's Reproductive Health Research Career Development Center Grant 5K12 HD050113-02 at the University of North Carolina.

Address correspondence to: Anne Z. Steiner, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, CB #7570, Old Clinic Building, Chapel Hill, NC. E-mail:

©2008The North American Menopause Society