A Nigerian Professor of Anatomy and consultant reproductive endocrinologist, Oladapo Ashiru, said female oil- and gas-producing workers risk premature menopause.
Prof Ashiru also said some women experience menopause before age 40 due to genetic factors, toxins, poor quality cosmetics or bleaching products.
Premature menopause is one of the main signs of premature ovarian failure. Premature ovarian failure — also known as primary ovarian insufficiency – is a loss of normal function of your ovaries between the ages of 20 and 40.
He said when the ovaries fail, they don’t produce reasonable amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly. Infertility is a typical result and menopause-like symptoms.
According to an online health portal, NHS Inform, premature menopause is estimated to affect one per cent of women under the age of 40 years and 0.1 per cent of women under the age of 30 years.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, the fertility expert said it is difficult, though not impossible, for women who have premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency to become pregnant.
“The most common cause is environmental toxins. Toxins, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the most common causes of toxin-induced ovarian failure and premature menopause. These therapies can damage the genetic material in cells.
“Other environmental toxins (termed environmental endocrine disruptors) such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, poor quality cosmetics and bleaching products, petrochemicals, pesticides, and viruses might hasten ovarian failure and cessation of the menstrual period.
“Experience has shown that some oil and gas and oil-producing workers suffer from premature menopause. Genetic factors and immunological factors can also contribute to the failure,” he said.
The don noted that women with such experience have infertility issues and they are unable to conceive on their own.
“Currently available options to resolve infertility include changing family-building plans, such as adoption, ovum donation, or embryo donation. All women with premature menopause should receive cyclical hormone replacement therapy after a complete evaluation of the hormonal panels. It will include estrogen and progestin to relieve estrogen deficiency symptoms and maintain bone density. The use of transdermal or oral estrogens is appropriate.”