(HealthDay News) — In women with early rheumatoid arthritis, early age at menopause is associated with seropositivity, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Lauren E. Wong, MD, from the Hospital for Special Surgery/Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of postmenopausal women with early rheumatoid arthritis under age 65 years at time of enrollment in the Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort. 

The authors compared rheumatoid-related disease characteristics in women with early age at menopause (<45 years) vs. usual age at menopause (≥45 years). The cohort included 534 women, of whom 93 were in the early menopause group.

The researchers found that rheumatoid arthritis age of onset was similar in both groups. The mean patient global and pain scores were higher in the early menopause group, and patients were more likely to be rheumatoid factor positive and meet the 1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria for rheumatoid arthritis. 

The early menopause group was more likely to be rheumatoid factor positive in multivariate regression analysis (OR=2.2). 

There was no between-group difference in symptom duration, joint counts, Disease Activity Score in 28 joints, Health Assessment Questionnaire scores or inflammatory biomarkers.

“The significance of these findings merits further investigation to understand the role of hormones in the pathogenesis of early [rheumatoid arthritis],” the researchers wrote.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, which also supported the Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort.


  1. Wong LE et al. Arthritis Care Res. 2015;67(5):616-623.