Irregular, long periods linked to shorter life span in 24-year study

In a finding that suggests a woman’s periods might be a powerful indicator of her general health, researchers report that women with irregular and long menstrual cycles face a higher risk of early death.

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

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

“Young women with irregular periods need a thorough assessment, not only of their hormones and metabolism but also of their lifestyle so that they can be advised about steps that they can

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Irregular periods linked to a greater risk of an early death

A team of mostly US-based researchers found that women who reported always having irregular menstrual cycles experienced higher mortality rates than women who reported very regular cycles in the same age ranges. The study took into account other potentially influential factors, such as age, weight, lifestyle, contraceptives and family medical history.

The study assessed 79,505 women with no history of cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes. The women reported the usual length and regularity of their menstrual cycles at three different points: between the ages of 14 to 17, 18 to 22, and 29 to 46 years. The researchers kept track of their health over a 24-year period.

“This study is a real step forward in closing the data gap that exists in women’s health. It raises many interesting research questions and areas of future study,” Dr. Jacqueline Maybin, a senior research fellow and consultant gynecologist at the University of Edinburgh’s … Read More

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