Background and aims: Clinical studies suggest that menstrual irregularities are associated with metabolic and hormonal abnormalities, insulin resistance and a hyperestrogenic/hyperandrogenic imbalance, that may influence the risk of cardiovascular disease. Methods and results: The association of these abnormalities with the metabolic syndrome suggests that information on lipid patterns at different menstrual cycle length may be of interest in identifying women at higher cardiovascular risk. The association of lipid patterns with menstrual cycle length was evaluated in a cohort of 5062 women participating in the Progetto ATENA Study. Questions were administered to the participants about their cycle lengths at different periods of time over their reproductive life. The period between 20 and 50 years was investigated: normal cycle length was defined as short (≤26 days), medium (between 27 and 29 days) or long (>30 days). Perimenopausal women were excluded and variables adjusted for age, BMI and menopausal status. In 4434 participants serum triglycerides were found to increase with an increased number of days in the menstrual cycle: 106 mg/dl in the short cycle pattern (21-26 days); 113 mg/dl in the medium cycle pattern (27-29 days); and 116 mg/dl in the long cycle pattern (30-31 days), whereas total and LDL cholesterol were found to be higher and HDL was lower in women with longer cycles, but the difference was not statistically significant. The results were very similar when the same adjusted analysis was restricted to a subgroup of 3823 women with a stable cycle length over the fourth and the fifth decade of life. Conclusions: These results suggest that cycle length may be a marker of higher cardiovascular risk due to associated metabolic and hormonal patterns.
- Menstrual cycle
- Serum lipids and lipoproteins
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine