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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Recent studies have shown that postmenopausal follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels may be predictive of future cardiovascular disease risk. However, little is known about postmenopausal FSH levels, including the level of variation between women and factors associated with this variation. We assessed the relationship of multiple reproductive factors with FSH levels among 588 postmenopausal women in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Participants were aged 53 to 73 years and not using hormone therapy at baseline (1998-2001). Reproductive factors were assessed at baseline, along with FSH levels. After adjustment for sex steroids, adiposity measures, plasma lipids, blood pressure, and behavioral factors, we observed that women with 3 or more births and an age at first birth of 25 or later had mean FSH levels that were significantly 7.6 IU/L lower than those of women with a 1 to 2 births and an age at first birth of 24 or less. Number of miscarriages was inversely correlated with FSH levels. Women reporting a 7 or more years of OC use and 4-6 or 7 or more years of HT use each had significantly higher mean FSH levels than women who had never used OCs or HT. In summary, multiple reproductive factors were associated with postmenopausal FSH levels, independent of estradiol, adiposity, and other factors. These findings warrant replication and further exploration of potential underlying mechanism.


First Advisor

Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson

Second Advisor

Susan Hankinson

Included in

Epidemiology Commons