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London - Women who go through an early menopause are more likely to have a potentially fatal brain haemorrhage, experts have warned.

They found the younger a woman is when she becomes menopausal, the greater the chance of a cerebral aneurysm, which occurs when part of the artery weakens and swells.

This can burst and cause a stroke or death, with half of those suffering a cerebral aneurysm likely to die.

US researchers say monitoring women at risk and giving them hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may reduce the danger.

Women are more prone to cerebral aneurysms than men, possibly because levels of the hormone oestrogen plunge after the menopause.

In the UK, the average age for the menopause is 51. The researchers, from Mount Rush University Medical Center, Illinois, defined an early menopause as occurring before 40.

They looked at 76 post-menopausal women who had suffered a cerebral aneurysm and compared them with 532 post-menopausal women who had not had an aneurysm.

The study found that a later menopause and the use of HRT protected against the risk of a cerebral aneurysm, lessening the risk by 21 percent and 77 percent respectively. - Daily Mail