ORLANDO, Fla. — The relationship between an abnormal menstrual cycle and the risk for cardiovascular disease is established. However, researchers suggest that disruptions in ovarian function at pre-menopause are linked to depression and cardiometabolic risk factors.
“There are some studies that have examined younger women who are premenopausal that do show that cardiovascular outcomes are worse in premenopausal women who exhibit certain signs of ovarian disruption marked by things like abnormal luteal phase functioning, having a history of anovulation, lower estradiol concentrations as well has having a menstrual cycle irregularity,” Maria E. Bleil, PhD, from the University of California, San Francisco, said during her presentation at the North American Menopause Society 23rd Annual Meeting.
Bleil and colleagues studied 804 healthy, pre-menopausal women in the Ovarian Aging (OVA) Study (aged 25 to 45 years; 29.7% white) to determine the extent to which disruptions in ovarian function affected depressive symptoms and CV risk among women in this population.
Menstrual cycle characteristics, depression indicators, and cardiometabolic risk factors were evaluated upon study assessment, and disruptions in ovarian function were collected through self-reported changes within a menstrual cycle over the past 12 months.
According to data, multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that each 1 mg/dL increase in HDL was linked to a 1.8% decrease in the likelihood that the patients would experience a change in menstrual cycle length (OR=0.982; 95% CI, 0.970-0.995). Additionally, each 1 cm increase in waist circumference (WC) was associated with a 1.3% increase in the likelihood that patients would experience a change in menstrual cycle length (OR=1.013; 95% CI, 1.000-1.027). For hypertension, there was a 79.2% increase for a change in menstrual cycle length (OR=1.792; 95% CI, 0.990-3.245).
Bleil reported that depression indicators were linked to a more than twofold increase in the chance of experiencing a change in menstrual cycle length: CES-D score ≥16 (OR=2.096; 95% CI, 1.311-3.350); lifetime depression diagnosis (OR=2.988; 95% CI, 1.572-5.677); and lifetime anti-depressant medication use (OR=2.869; 95% CI, 1.470-5.598).
Additional data from multivariate linear regression analyses showed a correlation between depression and HDL (P=.045) which weakened when changes to the menstrual cycle occurred at the same time (P=.133).
“Subtle disruptions in ovarian function marked by changes in menstrual cycle length are observable even in healthy regularly cycling women. These changes appear to be associated with cardiovascular risk factors as well as depression indicators,” Bleil said.
Bleil said these findings could help identify pre-menopausal women who could benefit from early interventions to delay or prevent CVD. – by Samantha Costa
For more information:
Bleil ME. #S-6. Presented at: the North American Menopause Society 23rd Annual Meeting; October 3-6, 2012; Orlando, Fla.
Disclosure: Bleil has no relevant financial disclosures.