Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Why The Menopause Causes Such Awful Mood Swings?

At least women have someone to blame for the menopause – their parents.
Scientists claim that the hormonal mayhem is the result ‘genetic warfare’ between the DNA a woman inherits from her mother and that of her father.
One set of genes wants her to continue having children. The other wants her to stop.
The result is the hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats and other symptoms that go to make up the menopause.

The British and Japanese researchers said that learning more about the genes involved could lead to a test that tells a woman how long she has in which to start a family.
The study builds on the popular idea that the menopause evolved as a way of stopping our female ancestors from having children while they were still young enough to help care for the children of younger female relatives living nearby.
This allowed them to safeguard their genetic line, by lavishing their children and those of relatives with love and attention, without having to go through the trauma of childbirth again.
The team featured researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), St Andrews University in Scotland and Sokendai, the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Hayama, Japan.
They say that, in times gone by, women tended to move away from home and in with their husband’s family once they got married. This meant their children would typically be related to more of those around them through their father than their mother.
As a result, the genes a girl inherited from her father would in adulthood strive to stop her from having more children of her own so she could instead care for young relatives around her.

However, the DNA she got from her mother would want her to have more children of her own, to help ensure the genes from her mother’s side lived on.
RHUL researcher Dr Francisco Ubeda, who used maths to back up the theory, said: ‘The woman’s paternal genes are pushing for an early menopause, while her maternal genes are trying to stall the process.’
This conflict of interest could explain not only why women go through the menopause but also why it lasts so long and is so turbulent, the journal Ecology Letters reports.

St Andrews University researcher Dr Andy Gardner said learning more about the genes involved in menopause could help women decide how long to wait to start a family.
He said: ‘Now, when people are trying to decide, the best bit of advice they can be given is to look at the age their mother underwent the menopause.’
Dr Ubeda added: ‘Choosing if and when to start a family is one of the biggest decisions that we have to make in our lives.

‘Having better, individualised information about when our fertility is likely to tail off will help avoid anxiety and make sure that people don’t leave it too late.’
The research could also help doctors decide which methods of family planning they should  prescribe, based on a woman’s genetic background.
In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause – when their ovaries stop producing an egg every four weeks – is 52, although many experience it in their 30s or 40s.
Earlier research found that the drop in oestrogen levels during the menopause could be linked to the ‘senior moments’ suffered by older women but that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helped.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2520861/Side-effects-menopause-cause-warring-genes.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

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