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Menopause as risk factor for oxidative stress

Sánchez-Rodríguez, Martha A. PhD1; Zacarías-Flores, Mariano MD ObGyn2; Arronte-Rosales, Alicia MSc1; Correa-Muñoz, Elsa MSc1; Mendoza-Núñez, Víctor Manuel PhD1

Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society: March 2012 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 361–367
doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318229977d
Original Articles

Objective The aim of this study was to determine the influence of menopause (hypoestrogenism) as a risk factor for oxidative stress.

Methods We carried out a cross-sectional study with 187 perimenopausal women from Mexico City, including 94 premenopausal (mean ± SD age, 44.9 ± 4.0 y; estrogen, 95.8 ± 65.7 pg/mL; follicle-stimulating hormone, 13.6 ± 16.9 mIU/mL) and 93 postmenopausal (mean ± SD age, 52.5 ± 3.3 y; estrogen, 12.8 ± 6.8 pg/mL; follicle-stimulating hormone, 51.4 ± 26.9 mIU/mL) women. We measured lipoperoxides using a thiobarbituric acid–reacting substance assay, erythrocyte superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities, and the total antioxidant status with the Randox kit. An alternative cutoff value for lipoperoxide level of 0.320 μmol/L or higher was defined on the basis of the 90th percentile of young healthy participants. All women answered the Menopause Rating Scale, the Athens Insomnia Scale, and a structured questionnaire about pro-oxidant factors, that is, smoking, consumption of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, and physical activity. Finally, we measured weight and height and calculated body mass index.

Results The lipoperoxide levels were significantly higher in the postmenopausal group than in the premenopausal group (0.357 ± 0.05 vs 0.331 ± 0.05 μmol/L, P = 0.001). Using logistic regression to control pro-oxidant variables, we found that menopause was the main risk factor for oxidative stress (odds ratio, 2.62; 95% CI, 1.35-5.11; P < 0.01). We also found a positive correlation between menopause rating score, insomnia score, and lipoperoxides, and this relationship was most evident in the postmenopausal group (menopause scale, r = 0.327 [P = 0.001]; insomnia scale, r = 0.209 [P < 0.05]).

Conclusions Our findings suggest that the depletion of estrogen in postmenopause could cause oxidative stress in addition to the known symptoms.

Oxidative stress has been associated with numerous diseases as we age. In this study, oxidative stress is compared in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

From the 1Unidad de Investigación en Gerontología, Facultad de Estudios Superiores Zaragoza, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico; and 2Hospital Gustavo Baz Prada, Instituto de Salud del Estado de México, Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico.

Received April 19, 2011; revised and accepted June 16, 2011.

Funding/support: This work was supported by grant Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Académico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México IN302809.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Martha A. Sánchez-Rodríguez, PhD, Unidad de Investigación en Gerontología, Facultad de Estudios Superiores Zaragoza, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Batalla 5 de mayo S/N esq. Fuerte de Loreto, Col. Ejército de Oriente, México, D.F. CP 03000, Mexico. E-mail:

©2012The North American Menopause Society