Vegetarian Diet associated with Younger Age of Menopause

A cross-sectional study from the United Kingdom (the Breakthrough Generations Study) found that self-described vegetarians were more likely to have an earlier age of natural menopause. In turn, a lower age of menopause has been associated with lower rates of breast cancer.

The authors wrote:

“Vegetarians reached menopause at a mean age of 50.1 years, which was significantly earlier than non-vegetarians (mean menopausal age = 50.7 years, HR = 1.12; P < 0.001). The effect was present regardless of whether the woman became vegetarian before 20 years of age or between the ages of 20 and 40 years (data not shown)."

This confirms previous reports that vegetarians have a lower age of menopause.


Morris DH, Jones ME, Schoemaker MJ, McFadden E, Ashworth A, Swerdlow AJ. Body mass index, exercise, and other lifestyle factors in relation to age at natural menopause: analyses from the breakthrough generations study. Am J Epidemiol. 2012 May 15;175(10):998-1005. | link

10 Responses to “Vegetarian Diet associated with Younger Age of Menopause”

  1. Kathleen Keene Says:

    Hallelujah! I first started when I was 10, so that is welcome news! I’m 38, and wonder if I’m starting “peri-menopause” yet.

  2. Nick Says:

    Stupid question: is this supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing?

  3. Jack Norris RD Says:


    As I mention in the post above, a lower age of menopause has been associated with lower rates of breast cancer.

  4. Kathleen Keene Says:

    The less times a woman has her period in her life, naturally, the better, generally speaking.

  5. Daisy Says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t equate early menopause with good anything. With more and more women putting off having children until later in life, that “average” could be a real problem for some of them.

    Not to mention menopause side effects: vaginal dryness, dry skin, depression, loss of sex drive, hot flashes, etc, etc.

    Compared to those problems, what’s your chances of coming down with breast cancer anyway?

  6. Kathleen Keene Says:

    @Daisy: I can see your concern. I would suggest women don’t wait until after their forties to have a child anyway. It’s not healthy to have children when older (or too young) for that matter. (Vegan diet is associated with later menses for girls as well.-from The China Study by T. Colin Campbell)
    Menopause is going to happen anyway, and studies have shown that it’s less severe in vegans. Menopause is suppose to just mean the end of menstruation, not the end of life.

  7. Daisy Says:

    You may “suggest” all you want, but with women becoming more educated and developing good careers, more and more are waiting until later in life to have children. Shockingly enough, that’s their choice. An “average” of 50 years means just that: an average. Some will go through menopause at 35, 40, some at 55, 60.

    IMO, to promote early menopause as an outright good thing is unjustified. I’ve never seen a real “study” that showed menopause as “less severe” for vegans. In fact, I doubt there are enough vegans around to do a real, long term scientific study. On the other hand, I have seen scientific research that showed soy products did not reduce side effects of menopause. Link below.

    Menopause is NOT the end of life, but it is the end of a woman’s chance to reproduce. It also lowers sexual desire, can cause vaginal dryness which makes sex less attractive to either partner, dry skin, hot flashes, depression and who knows what else. Sex is not necessary in life, but it sure makes it more interesting.

  8. Nick Says:

    “Menopause is going to happen anyway”

    This is a major logical fallacy, or at best a form of fatalism. I don’t have an opinion on menopause/menstruation, nor do I feel entitled to one, but I do have an interest in logical argumentation. Death is also going to “happen anyway,” but I think I’ll do my best to put it off for a while.

  9. Larissa Says:

    As an endometriosis sufferer, and end to it all earlier is definitely a positive.

  10. Sharon Says:

    The difference is 6 months… ie. 50.1 vs 50.7. I don’t think that is enough to get terribly emotional and righteous about. Yawn.

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