Women Infected with Bacteria to Cause Periodontal Disease

Who is the post-menopausal woman? Exactly what is menopause, and what does “post-menopause” mean? Literally, the term means after the menopause, or the stopping of periods. To be more precise, most providers consider a woman to be post-menopausal when she hasn’t had a vaginal bleed for one year.
 
But for many women, it’s difficult to calculate when exactly their last period was because you don’t know it was the last one until 12 months later. We often see women who hope that a particular month’s bleeding is the last, only to have another period several months later and have to start counting all over again. So it’s understandable how we could conflate what is actually premenopause with menopause. (For more information on “what is menopause,” see our article on ending confusion about menopause.)
 
Aside from transitioning into menopause naturally as described above, some women have their ovaries removed surgically, and are considered post-menopause after the operation because there is no longer any chance they will have another period. On the other hand, women who stop having periods during chemotherapy might resume them after treatment is over. Even if the treatment causes their periods to stop for a whole year, most doctors do not consider these women to be post-menopausal without checking their FSH levels. Also, women who are taking any type of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), even if they’ve not had a period in 12 months, may not be technically post-menopausal because once they stop therapy they usually have some of the symptoms of menopause again.
 
A study conducted in a large sample of postmenopausal women by University at Buffalo epidemiologists has provided new information on the prevalence of certain gum-disease-causing oral bacteria in this population and the association of the bacteria with oral bone loss. 
 
Results showed that women infected with four bacteria known to cause periodontal disease were more likely to have more severe oral bone loss than those without these oral pathogens. 
 
Two widely recognized periodontal pathogens, called P. gingivalis and T. forsythensis, were found to infect 15.1 percent and 37.9 percent of the women, respectively. Two additional oral bacteria suspected to be pathogenic, P. intermedia and C. rectus, were found in 43.4 percent and 17.4 percent of women. 
 
"This is one of the first studies in community-dwelling postmenopausal women that assessed bacteria presence and associated it with oral bone loss, while controlling for other factors, such as age, smoking status and income," said Jean Wactawski-Wende, Ph.D., associate professor of social and preventive medicine, UB School of Public Health and Health Professions, and senior author on the study.
 
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