HealthDay News — Early age at menarche is a risk factor for menopausal symptoms, according to a study published online in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

Hsin-Fang Chung, PhD, from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues evaluated the association between age at menarche and risk for vasomotor menopausal symptoms (VMS; hot flushes and night sweats) and the impact of midlife body mass index (BMI). The analysis included 18,555 women from the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia pooled from 6 cohort studies.

The researchers found that early menarche (≤11 years) was associated with an increased risk for “often” hot flushes (relative risk ratio [RRR], 1.48; 95% CI, 1.24 to 1.76) and night sweats (RRR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.49 to 1.70) vs menarche at ≥14 years. Similar trends were seen with severity data but appeared less conclusive (RRR for “severe” hot flushes: 1.16 [95% CI, 0.94 to 1.42]; RRR for night sweats: 1.27 [95% CI, 1.01 to 1.58]). The risk associated with early menarche and “often” VMS was stronger among women who were overweight or obese versus normal weight, but this trend across BMI categories was not as strong with the risk for “severe” VMS.

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“These findings encourage women with early menstruation to engage in health promotion programs, especially weight management in adulthood,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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