Irregular periods linked to a greater risk of an early death, study suggests

Irregular and long menstrual cycles have been associated with a higher risk of major chronic diseases.

(CNN)Doctors should pay more attention to women's menstrual cycles and treat them as an additional vital sign to assess a patient's health, researchers have said, after a new study found a link between irregular periods and a greater risk of early death.

A team of mostly US-based researchers found that women who reported always having irregular menstrual cycles experienced higher mortality rates than women who reported very regular cycles in the same age ranges. The study took into account other potentially influential factors, such as age, weight, lifestyle, contraceptives and family medical history.
The study assessed 79,505 women with no history of cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes. The women reported the usual length and regularity of their menstrual cycles at three different points: between the ages of 14 to 17, 18 to 22, and 29 to 46 years. The researchers kept track of their health over a 24-year period.