Irregular, Long Periods Tied to Shorter Life Span

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

THURSDAY October 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) – In a finding that suggests a woman’s period could be a powerful indicator of her overall health, researchers report that women with irregular and long menstrual cycles are at greater risk. high premature death.

In a study that lasted 24 years and included more than 79,000 premenopausal women who had no history of heart disease, cancer or diabetes, those who had always had irregular menstrual cycles were more likely to die before age 70 years old than those who had cycles.

“The important point illustrated by this study is that menstrual regularity and reproductive health provide a window into long-term overall health,” said Dr Adam Balen, professor of reproductive medicine at University Hospitals in Leeds in Great Britain. Brittany. CNN.

“Young women with irregular periods need a thorough assessment, not only of their hormones and metabolism, but also of their lifestyle in order to be informed of the steps they can take to improve their overall health. Said Balen, who was not involved in the study.

Women who had a usual cycle length of 40 days or more, aged 18 to 22 and 29 to 46, were more likely to die prematurely than those with a usual cycle length of 26 to 31 days in same age groups.

These associations were strongest for deaths from heart disease, compared to cancer or other causes. The increased risk was also slightly greater in smokers, according to the study published Sept. 30 in the BMJ medical journal.

The results suggest that a woman’s menstrual cycle should be seen as an important sign of general health throughout her childbearing years, the researchers said in a press release. They were led by Jorge Chavarro of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

They said the associations between long and irregular menstrual cycles and the increased risk of premature death are likely due to hormonal disruptions. But the study didn’t prove that irregular periods actually caused premature death, just that there was an association.

Irregular and long menstrual cycles are common in women of childbearing age and have been linked to a higher risk of major chronic diseases, including ovarian cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and problems with Mental Health.


However, there is little previous evidence to link irregular or long menstrual cycles and the risk of early death.

“These data will encourage future questioning of menstrual symptoms and pathologies as an indicator of long-term health outcomes and may provide an early opportunity to implement preventive strategies to improve women’s health throughout life.” , said Dr Jacqueline Maybin at the Science Media Center in London, CNN reported. She is a senior researcher and consultant gynecologist at the MRC Center for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh.

“A specific underlying cause of irregular periods may increase the risk of premature death, rather than irregular bleeding, per se,” said Maybin, who was not involved in the research. “We already know that women with polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS], one of the main causes of irregular periods, is at increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and uterine cancer. It is important for women with PCOS to talk to their doctor to reduce these risks. “

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SOURCES:BMJ, press release, September 30, 2020; CNN

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