Irregular menstrual cycles may be associated with an early death, a new study suggests.
Researchers followed 79,505 women participating in a large long-term health study. The women reported on the length and regularity of their cycles at ages 14 to 17, 18 to 22, and 29 to 46 years. At the start, none had a history of cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes. The study is in BMJ.
Over 24 years of follow-up, there were 1,975 deaths before age 70, including 894 from cancer and 172 from cardiovascular disease.
At all ages, compared with women with regular periods of average length (26 to 31 days), those with irregular or longer cycles were at higher risk for early death. For example, women who always had irregular periods at ages 18 to 22 had a 37 percent increased risk of early mortality, and those with cycle lengths of 40 days or more had