A Woman’s all over health largely depends on her menstrual cycles, and it might be a powerful indicator of her general health problems. Researchers have found that women with irregular and long periods face a higher risk of early death.
A study that extended for 24 years, and included more than 79,000 premenopausal women who had no history of heart disease, cancer, or diabetes but had irregular menstrual cycles. It found that women having irregular menstrual cycles are more likely to die before the age of 70 than those who had regular cycles.
Dr. Adam Balen, a professor of reproductive medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals in Britain said, “The important point illustrated by this study is that menstrual regularity and reproductive health provides a window into overall long-term health.”
“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 take, which might enhance their overall health,” said Dr. Balen.
It is reported that women who had a normal menstrual cycle of 40 days, who are between the age of 18 to 22 and 22 to 46 were more likely to die at a premature stage. On the other hand, women who had a usual cycle length of 26 to 31 days who are in the same age group were seen at a lower risk of death.
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The important reasons for death in these cases are due to the association of heart diseases as compared to cancer and other causes. The risk of death also increases due to smoking and the consumption of drugs.
According to the findings, a woman’s menstrual cycle should be considered the most important sign of general health throughout her life.
The researchers also mentioned the relationship between long and irregular period cycles and increased risk of premature deaths. Hormonal disruptions are responsible for such deaths. But the study doesn’t have any proof that why irregular periods cause early deaths but saw an association with it.
Irregular and long menstrual cycles are very common among women at reproductive age. Women having this problem are at a risk of having major chronic diseases including ovarian cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and mental health problems.
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Dr. Jacqueline Maybin, who is a senior research fellow and consultant gynecologist at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health told the Science Media Centre in London that, “These data will encourage future interrogation of menstrual symptoms and pathologies as an indicator of long-term health outcomes and may provide an early opportunity to implement preventative strategies to improve women’s health across the life span.”
However, a specific underlying cause of irregular menstruation may increase the risk of premature death, rather than the irregular bleeding.
“We already know that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome [PCOS], a leading cause of irregular periods, have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer of the womb. It is important that women with PCOS speak to their doctor to reduce these risks,” said Dr. Maybin.