Delayed puberty linked to reduced risk of systemic sclerosis
Women with late age at menarche are at much lower risk of developing systemic sclerosis (SSc), a study suggests. Furthermore, abortion does not contribute to a risk increase.
The study included 116 SSc patients (mean age, 46.74 years) and 392 female controls (mean age, 48.13 years) of Chinese Han ethnicity. All the women completed structured questionnaires to assess reproductive and menstrual factors, including number of births, abortions and age at menarche.
Compared with controls, SSc patients had a comparable level of education, with illiteracy predominating in both groups. Additionally, more SSc patients vs controls had body mass index (BMI) <18.5 kg/m2, had poor sleep quality and were exposed to passive smoking.
Unconditional logistics regression showed that the risk of developing SSc was lower in women with late (≥17 years) vs early menarche age (odds ratio [OR] 0.347, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.174–0.693) and in those with abortion (one time) vs without abortion (OR, 0.601, 95 percent CI, 0.408–0.887).
On further analysis that controlled for potential confounders such as occupation and BMI, the protective association observed for late age at menarche persisted (OR, 0.187, 95 percent CI, 0.068–0.513) but not that for abortions. A meta-analysis confirmed that there was no association between SSc and abortions or number of pregnancies. No significant publication bias was observed (p>0.05).
Additional investigation is required to establish the role of menstruation timing in the aetiology of SSc, the researchers noted.