Past studies have revealed that air pollution may be behind a plethora of problems affecting women’s health including polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, and the metabolic syndrome.
A new study, which appeared in the medical journal Human Reproduction, is the first to prove that air pollution is partially behind irregular menstrual cycles in teens aged 14 to 18, as well.
Researchers Shruthi Mahalingaiah from the Boston University School noted that air pollution has been long documented as an important factor in promoting pulmonary and heart disease. But apparently, a dirty air seems to have a negative impact on teen girls’ reproductive endocrine system. Women’s periods largely depend on hormonal regulation, Mahalingaiah explained.
Past studies have shown that the tiny particles behind air pollution also known as particulate matter have an influence on hormonal activity. Yet, scientists weren’t sure if air pollution has a say on menstrual cycle.
Air Pollution Behind Irregular Periods
In their study, researchers used data from the comprehensive national Nurses’ Health Study 2 and the EPA’s air pollution monitoring system. By combing through these two datasets, researchers found a link between irregular periods and air pollution exposure during high school years.
Usually a menstrual cycle completes after 28 to 35 days, and the flow lasts from three to seven days. Yet, if the flow and length vary from one month to another, you have an irregular period.
Oftentimes, irregular periods aren’t a sign of an underlying health issue, but if there is a sudden change they could be a symptom of hormonal imbalance like a thyroid disorder, diabetes, pregnancy, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and a sexually transmitted disease (STI).
One in ten women has PCOS, but the condition is rarely diagnosed. This is why, you should see your physician if you suspect an underlying health issue may be behind your irregular menstrual cycle.
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