Irregular Periods Tied to Increased Risk of Liver Disease

Menstrual cycles that are irregular and long aren’t just an issue when women try to get pregnant. The irregularity of menstrual cycles could also indicate an increased risk of developing the common form of liver disease According to an investigation that was conducted recently.

Although a normal menstrual cycle can be 28 days long, every woman is different. However, menstrual periods are still classified as regular when they happen around every between 24 and 38 days, as per the U.S. Office on Women’s Health. The study found that 28 percent of women in the latest research had cycles which were at least 40 days long , or were too unpredictable to predict.

In the beginning of the study 7 percent of women were suffering from the nonalcoholic fatty liver disorder which is the accumulation of fat deposits within the liver that aren’t caused by drinking excessively. About one-fourth of U.S. adults have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease that is usually caused by obesity or excess weight.

In the group of participants that didn’t have fatty livers at beginning of the study 9 percent were diagnosed with this disease during the course of about four years of following. In the course of the study, women who had irregular or long menstrual cycles were greater likely to contract nonalcoholic fat liver disease than counterparts who had “regular” cycles lasting 26 to 30 days.

“Our study results show that long or irregular menstrual cycles may be associated with an increased risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and this link was not explained by obesity,” said the study’s lead writer, Seungho Ryu, MD PhD, of the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital and the Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea.

All women who participated participating in the study were younger than 40 years old . They were included in the Kangbuk Samsung Health Study in South Korea, where overweight is detected with a lower weight that in United States and many other areas of the globe.

Just 12 percent of women who had long or irregular menstrual cycles were obese, which the researchers defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25. This is the standard definition of overweight for South Korea.

The study’s main drawback is that the results of the women of this group in South Korea might not be representative of women from other nations or of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. A previous study suggests that the nonalcoholic fatty liver disorder could occur differently in those who are of Asian origin.

In a U.S. study of 3,386 people suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases, published on May 20, 2021, in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology as well as Hepatology, Asian Americans represented only 13 percent of patients, yet they comprised 50 percent of patients who had a slim or healthy BMI. When compared to those from different ethnic and racial groups and ethnicities, Asian American patients were roughly half of the risk of developing cirrhosis and severe scarring, which can cause liver failure.

While the research wasn’t intended to determine the possibility that menstrual cycles directly contribute to liver damage, it is possible that the abnormal levels of the hormones sex testosterone as well as testosterone can contribute to menstrual disorders and the development of nonalcoholic liver disease, according to Dimitrios Koutoukidis, RD PhD who is a researcher in the field of diet and obesity from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom who wasn’t involved in the study.

There’s no way to guarantee women who experience irregular or abnormally long menstrual cycles to avoid fatty liver disease Dr. Koutoukidis says. However, a few things that are integral to a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the risk of suffering from liver disease, he adds:

  • Maintain an appropriate weight.
  • Drink moderately.
  • Don’t smoke.

“Young women with long or irregular menstrual cycles may benefit from lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease as well as other cardiometabolic diseases,” Dr. Ryu says.

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