New research suggests that exposure to certain chemicals could be linked to the early onset of menopause.
The menstrual patterns of more than 5,000 women were analysed by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, America and the team noted that environmental factors were strongly associated with the time women began menopause.
Those who came into contact with 'phthalates' (found cosmetics, plastics, and household cleaners) were reported to have their last cycle two and a half years earlier than those who were not exposed.
The study was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in California this week.
In a statement, Linda Giudice from the ASRM, said: “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are pervasive in our environment and we do not yet know their full impact on human health and reproduction.
"Studies like this give additional reason to advise patients to take what steps they can to minimize their exposures.”