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Heavy periods, chronic hypertension in young women go hand in hand

04 Sep 2020

Heavy periods appear to have a bidirectional relationship with chronic hypertension among young women, such that the former is associated with subsequent risk of the latter and vice versa, according to a study.

Researchers looked at 7,729 women participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. The women documented their premenstrual syndrome, painful (dysmenorrhoea), heavy (menorrhagia), and irregular menstrual periods over the previous 12 months (recorded as never, rarely, sometimes, or often).

The participants also answered questions regarding physician-diagnosed hypertension, specifically for other than during pregnancy (characterized as chronic hypertension) and during pregnancy (hypertensive disorder in pregnancy [HDP]).

Over 15 years of follow-up, 757 women (9.8 percent) were diagnosed with chronic hypertension. Also, 483 of 4,473 parous women (10.8 percent) had HDP.

Generalized estimating equation time-lagged models revealed that women who often had heavy periods were at higher risk of developing chronic hypertension (relative risk [RR], 1.53, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.13−2.09) compared with those who never had menorrhagia.

Moreover, chronic hypertension contributed to an increased risk of incident menorrhagia (RR, 1.23, 95 percent CI, 1.02−1.50) and irregular periods (RR, 1.42, 95 percent CI, 1.17−1.72).

No apparent association emerged between any menstrual symptoms and subsequent risk of HDP.

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