Short menstrual cycle lengths and early or late onset of menstruation are associated with reduced fertility, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH)researchers.
The findings in the journal Annals of Epidemiology are the latest from an ongoing internet-based study of more than 2,100 women trying to get pregnant. The new study used questionnaires to ascertain menstrual cycle characteristics and pregnancy status, in an effort to find links between the two. Some participants charted their menstrual cycles daily via an online program, Fertility Friend.
The study found that women who had cycles of 26 days or fewer had reduced chances of becoming pregnant, or fecundability. The average cycle length among participants was 29 days.
Women who started menstruating at younger than 12 years old, or at age 15 and older, also had reduced fertility, compared with those who started at ages 12 to 13, the study found. There was little association between heavy or prolonged menstrual flow and fertility.
“In agreement with previous studies, we found that short menstrual cycles were associated with reduced fecundability among North American pregnancy planners, independent of age, irregular cycles and history of reproductive illness,” the research team said. “These results indicate that menstrual cycle characteristics may serve as markers of fertility potential among pregnancy planners.”
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