Science Confirms Men Cause Menopause in Women

June 14, 2013  |  
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Researchers have tried to understand for years what exactly causes menopause. After much investigation, the mystery seems to have been solved. What causes women to go through menopause is, well, men.

A groundbreaking study from McMaster University in Canada found natural selection is responsible. According to the study’s press release,

“[Dr. Rama] Singh, an evolutionary geneticist, backed by computer models developed by colleagues Jonathan Stone and Richard Morton, has determined that menopause is actually an unintended outcome of natural selection – the result of its effects having become relaxed in older women.

Over time, human males have shown a preference for younger women in selecting mates, stacking the Darwinian deck against continued fertility in older women, the researchers have found.”

That means with men competing for younger partners, older women have a far lower chance of reproducing. Though it was originally thought that women go through menopause to keep them from reproducing, it’s actually the fact that they stop reproducing that jumpstarts menopause. The idea is that if men sought out older women as much as younger women, women would continue to reproduce for the rest of their lives, like men.

Dr. Singh says that if women historically sought younger mates, the pattern would be reversed with men going through a version of menopause.  Because menopause means health problems in addition to the end of fertility, Dr. Singh hopes menopause can eventually be reversed.

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