Fewer pregnancies and early menopause increases progressive MS risk

A new study has linked fewer pregnancies and premature menopause to the likelihood of developing early onset progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers also found that there was a positive correlation between the amount of pregnancies a woman had and the delaying of the onset of disease.

Entering the menopause at age 46 or younger is linked with earlier onset of progressive MS, the study found. A woman’s age at the time of beginning menstruation was not associated with the onset of MS or progressive MS.

Being female is already one of the biggest risk factors for getting MS, with women around two to three times more likely than men to develop MS.

Writing in the journal Brain Communications, the researchers say the findings have implications for counselling women with MS about pregnancy, surgical menopause and hormone therapy. They said that medics should discuss any decision about non-natural menopause with MS patients as a potentially harmful intervention, and that the possibility of menopausal hormone therapy as a delaying therapy for the onset of progressive MS.