January 27, 2016
1 min read

Earlier menarche increases risk for gestational diabetes

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Women who reported an earlier age at menarche are at increased risk for developing gestational diabetes, with the association largely mediated through prepregnancy obesity, according to research in Diabetes Care.

Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, of the department of public health sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina, and colleagues analyzed data from 27,482 women (92% white) with 42,109 eligible pregnancies participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II, an ongoing prospective cohort study initiated in 1989. Researchers identified gestational diabetes via self-reported information, updated every 2 years. Age at menarche was collected at baseline; researchers grouped women by age (age 11 years or younger, 12 years, 13 years, or 14 years and older).

Within the cohort, the mean age at menarche was 12.6 years; 1,404 pregnancies were complicated by gestational diabetes.

The adjusted risk ratios for gestational diabetes across the menarche categories were 1.34 (95% CI, 1.14-1.58) for age 11 years or younger, 1.13 (95% CI, 0.97-1.31) for age 12 years, 1.11 (95% CI, 0.95-1.29) for age 13 years and 1 for age 14 years and older (referent; P = .0005). After adding adolescent and adult BMI into multivariate models, the association was substantially attenuated and became statistically insignificant after further adjustment for prepregnancy BMI. Researchers found that 42.1% of the association was mediated through prepregnancy BMI (95% CI, 17.9-66.3).

“It is plausible that age at menarche may be related to [gestational diabetes] risk through its association with hormonal changes,” the researchers wrote. “Future studies to investigate the underlying mechanisms are warranted.”– by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.