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Menstrual cycles are a healthy and natural part of womanhood. In many cases, they occur on regular, predictable patterns, with the menstrual flow taking just a few days every month. However, some women may experience extended and irregular menstrual cycles, which might indicate a higher risk of heart disease, according to recent research.

U.S-based researchers recently conducted a study involving 80,000 women in which they discovered that long and irregular menstrual cycles might cause heart disease later in life. The researchers also found that the condition may also cause premature death. According to the findings, teenage and adult females have a higher risk of experiencing irregular periods if they are regular smokers.

Researchers also claim that abnormally heavy and painful flow might be a sign of an underlying health risk. Nevertheless, the study also indicates that women may experience irregular periods during the pregnancy window, which is normal. However, it is the potentially resulting problems that result from the irregular flow that pose a threat. For example, subjects might be at a higher risk of type 2 disease, heart disease, mental illness, and ovarian cancer. The researchers have however not identified a direct link between irregular menstrual flow and premature death.

Evaluating historical premenopausal data

The researchers evaluated premenstrual data of 79,505, whose average age was 38 years old. The study subjects had no history of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular issues. The data was collected for 24 years, and it allowed researchers to understand how women’s health faired in relation to their menstrual cycles over the years.

Unfortunately, many women succumbed during the study. Heart disease claimed 172 of them, while 894 died of cancer. A total of 1,975 women passed away while the study was ongoing. According to the study, roughly 1.05 for every 1,000 females between 14 and 17 that experienced regular periods died prematurely. In contrast, 1.23 women died out of every 1,000 women that experienced irregular periods.

The research also showed that women that experienced longer menstrual cycles were at a higher risk of premature deaths. The scientists hope that the study data will encourage medical practitioners to consider menstrual health characteristics when considering females’ general health.