Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Irregular Periods, Shorter Life Span?

Irregular Periods, Shorter Life Span?

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women whose menstrual cycles persistently vary from the 28-day norm may have an increased risk of earlier death, new research suggests.

The study found that women who had irregular periods or extra-long menstrual cycles had as much as a one-third higher risk of death during the two-decade study compared to women who usually had a normal menstrual cycle.

However, "these results are not a cause for alarm in the irregular cycle population," said Dr. Mitchell Kramer, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital, in Huntington, N.Y. "The relationship between them and an increased risk of death is a soft one at best, and possibly suggestive of other underlying medical conditions," added Kramer, who wasn't involved in the study.

A typical menstrual cycle repeats every 28 days, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health. A change in that pattern sometimes isn't uncommon. Teen girls and women just before menopause often have more irregular periods.

But this study found a difference when women consistently had irregular periods or cycles that lasted longer than 32 days.

There are a number of medical conditions linked to irregular menstrual cycles. These include obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, stress and thyroid conditions, the women's health office said.

The study comes from Harvard Medical School in Boston and Tongji Medical College in China. It included nearly 94,000 women. At the start of the study, none had a history of heart or blood vessel disease, cancer or diabetes.

The women reported the usual length of their periods, as well as how often they had them. Their health was followed from 1991 to 2013.

During the study, almost 1,700 women died. More than 800 died from cancer, and 166 from heart or blood vessel disease, the researchers said.

Women who said their menstrual cycles were always irregular between the ages of 14 and 17 were 21% more likely to die from any cause during the study than women with very regular periods. Women with consistently irregular periods from 18 to 22 were 34% more likely to die from any cause, the study found.

The researchers said they saw a similar relationship between consistently irregular menstrual cycles at ages 28 to 48 years and a higher risk of premature death.

Women who had longer-than-average menstrual cycles (more than 32 days) were around 25% more likely to die from any cause during the study than women with a usual cycle length of 26 to 31 days.

The researchers attempted to control the data to account for other factors that could influence the risk of death, including body mass index, race/ethnicity, physical activity and other lifestyle factors.

However, this study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between irregular or lengthy periods and early death. It can only show an association between those factors.

Dr. Adi Davidov is program director for obstetrics and gynecology at Staten Island University Hospital, in New York City. He said the study's findings were concerning. He also said he'd like to see more research to determine if taking steps to try to correct irregular periods would affect death rates.

But, he said, the connection may have something to do with other risk factors that boost the odds of dying early.

"Physicians have long realized that women who have irregular periods oftentimes have underlying medical conditions that have detrimental effects on their health. Conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome cause irregular periods and are often associated with diabetes," Davidov said.

Davidov suggested that gynecologists may want to take extra steps to try to correct women's menstrual cycles.

Kramer said women who have irregular periods can focus on a healthy lifestyle. He suggested a healthy diet, regular exercise, no smoking and regular preventive medical care.

The study was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting, in Philadelphia. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they're published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

There's more on period problems at the U.S. Office on Women's Health.

SOURCES: Mitchell Kramer, M.D., chairman, obstetrics and gynecology, Northwell Health Huntington Hospital, Huntington, N.Y.; Adi Davidov, M.D., program director, obstetrics and gynecology, Staten Island University Hospital, New York City; Oct. 16, 2019 presentation, American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting, Philadelphia

Reviewed Date: --

This content was reviewed by Mid-Atlantic Womens Care, PLC. Please visit their site to find an Mid-Atlantic Womens Care obstetrician.

Helpful Information
Mid-Atlantic Womens's Care
Endocrinology/Diabetology
Dr. Eric Gyuricsko
Dr. Nicole Nejedly
Dr. Melinda Penn
Dr. Kent Reifschneider
Dr. Melissa Russell
Dr. Marta Satin-Smith
Neurology
Dr. Sarah Chagnon
Dr. Thomas Enlow
Dr. Ralph Northam
Dr. Crystal Proud
Dr. Svinder Toor
Dr. Ryan Williams
Hematology and Oncology
Dr. Wilson File
Dr. Eric Lowe
Dr. Melissa Mark
Dr. William Owen
Dr. Linda Pegram
Dr. Katherine Watson
Dr. Eric Werner
Quizzes
Diabetes: Test Your Knowledge
Heart Health Quiz
Heart Quiz for Women Only
Prevention
Prevention Guidelines for Men 18 to 39
Prevention Guidelines for Women 18 to 39
Prevention Guidelines for Women 40 to 49
Prevention Guidelines for Women 50 to 64
Prevention Guidelines for Women 65+
NewsLetters
10 Questions to Ask After a Heart Disease Diagnosis
5 Differences to Know About Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
6 Tips for Life as a Cancer Survivor
Menu Planning? Try These 5 Heart-Smart Substitutions
Prediabetes on the Rise in Teenagers
Should You Take a Daily Aspirin to Protect Your Heart?
When a Chronic Disease Runs in Your Family
Why Well-Woman Visits Are Important—And What to Ask
Diseases & Conditions
About Cancer
Alternative Therapy for Cancer
Anomalous Coronary Artery in Children
Cancer Treatment for Children
Causes of Cancer
Coping with a Diagnosis of Cancer in Children
Diagnosing Cancer
Home Page - Cardiovascular Disorders
Menstrual Disorders
Nutritional Requirements for a Child With Cancer
Pregnancy and Medical Conditions
Pregnancy and Pre-existing Heart Disease
Teens and Diabetes Mellitus
Topic Index - Adolescent Medicine

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.