Having irregular periods or very long cycles is not always easy to manage on a daily basis. And now it seems to be a risk factor that could lead to a shorter life expectancy. A recent study shows that fluctuating menstrual cycles increase the risk of premature death by 34%.
Irregular periods are not only annoying but also a challenge to a woman’s life expectancy. After studying the menstrual cycles of more than 90,000 participants, researchers at Harvard University found that women with varying menstrual periods were up to a third more likely to die during their studies.
Irregular periods reduce life expectancy
The unpublished work was presented at the 75th Scientific Congress for Reproductive Medicine, held in Philadelphia, from 12 to 16 October 2019. For this study, 93,775 women of different ages completed questionnaires three times between 1991 and 2013 about their menstrual cycle, regularity, and duration. During the study, 1679 participants died, including 828 from cancer and 166 from heart attacks.
When analyzing the data, the team found that women whose menstrual cycles were irregular between 18 and 22 years of age were 34% more likely to die during the study than participants who had very regular menstrual cycles.
Girls 14 to 17 years old who have irregular menstrual cycles see the risk of premature death increase by 21 percent compared to the others. Women between the ages of 28 and 48 who suffer from the same conditions also run a greater risk of not enjoying their old age. However, this percentage was not specified during the presentation.
The duration of menstrual cycles is also problematic
The duration of menstruation also influences the life expectancy of women. Women with cycles of 32 to 39 days or more than 40 days (against an average of 28 days) were 23% and 28% more likely to die, respectively.
In addition, a menstrual cycle of more than 32 days in women aged 28 to 48 was found to be associated with a higher risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular problems.
The researchers tried to explain the early death of women with irregular periods or long cycles. For them, they had underlying health problems that were not detected.
How long is the menstrual cycle?
The average duration of a menstrual cycle is 28 days. However, it varies between 21 and 35 days, depending on the woman. Variations in the length of the cycle are usually due to the follicle phase, the first part of the female hormone cycle that ends at the time of ovulation.
If a woman’s period is normal, ovulation takes place on the fourteenth day.
If the menstruation is irregular, painful or heavy, it is advisable to consult a doctor or gynecologist. An irregular or long menstrual cycle can be a symptom of certain conditions and diseases.