The length of the menstrual cycle, its regularity and the number of menstrual cycles can be risk factors for several chronic conditions. We are essentially talking about vascular disease or osteoporosis.
A major new study again focuses on the length of the menstrual cycle, particularly during the transition to menopause. As we will see therefore, we must pay close attention, because this characteristic of the menstrual cycle could predict the risk of atherosclerosis.
Estrogen and cardiovascular risk
Numerous studies suggest that estrogen protects women from cardiovascular disease before the age of menopause. Some of the benefits of estrogen can be attributed to their ability to alter the lipid profile, increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL).
After menopause, the cardiovascular risk of women progressively approaches that of men, suggesting a protective effect of estrogen from atherosclerosis.
Estrogen levels vary a lot during ovulation and during the menstrual cycle. Women with frequent menstrual cycles (short cycles) have higher estradiol values than women with regular menstrual cycles. This means that they will spend their reproductive lives with higher estrogen levels than women with long periods (more than 40 days).
The length of the menstrual cycle could, therefore, give an indication of the cumulative hormone levels during the woman’s reproductive life.
Be careful because this characteristic of the menstrual cycle could predict the risk of atherosclerosis
In a newly published paper (Samar EK et al, 2021), researchers investigated the length of the menstrual cycle in the transition period to menopause and its relationship to vascular problems.
Different cycle lengths have been found to give an indication of a woman’s risk of developing atherosclerosis after menopause. This discovery is very important and has a strong predictive impact.
During the transition to menopause, menstrual cycles tend to lengthen, starting 4-5 years before the final menstrual period. Women, during transition, can experience three different trends: menstrual cycles of stable length, with late increase and with early increase.
Previous studies have already shown that women with irregular or long menstrual cycles have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In this study, it was found that even women with an early increase in cycle length have a higher risk profile for atherosclerosis.
Based on this study, therefore, it is important to monitor the length of the menstrual cycle, especially in the period before menopause, to have an indication of the vascular and cardiovascular risks after menopause.
Few people know that breast cancer could be countered with this very common drug