WEDNESDAY, Aug. 31, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Women with short menstrual cycles (≤25 days) during reproductive years appear to have a higher frequency of total menopausal symptoms and an earlier age of natural menopause, according to a study published online Aug. 23 in Menopause.

Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the extent to which self-reported menstrual cycle length during the reproductive years is associated with menopausal symptoms and age at natural menopause at midlife among 634 women enrolled in Project Viva during pregnancy. Women self-reported menstrual cycle length at enrollment and reported total and specific menopause symptoms at midlife.

The researchers found that 14 percent and 6 percent of women reported having short (≤25 days) and long (≥35 days) menstrual cycles, respectively. Women whose cycles were short had a higher total Menopause Rating Scale at midlife compared with those with a normal menstrual cycle length of 26 to 34 days. The odds of midlife sleep problems, heart discomfort, and depressive symptoms were increased for women with short menstrual cycles during their reproductive years. Women reporting short cycles also had an earlier onset of natural menopause compared with those with a normal cycle length.

“The menstrual cycle is a biologic marker of overall health. This study finds that a shorter menstrual cycle length during a woman’s reproductive years is a window into her future midlife health,” Chrisandra Shufelt, M.D., president of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement. “It will be important to validate these findings and understand the potential mechanism involved.”

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