Women with irregular periods may be at risk for liver disease

News – WASHINGTON –Women with long or irregular periods are known to have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but researchers have found that these women may also be at risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to a study. new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

About 24% of American adults have NAFLD, a chronic disease in which excess fat builds up in the liver. This fat accumulation is not caused by heavy alcohol consumption. NAFLD can progress to chronic liver damage and is associated with a higher risk of death. Diet and exercise are the standard of care for NAFLD because no drugs have been approved to treat the disease.

“The results of our study show that long or irregular menstrual cycles may be associated with an increased risk of developing NAFLD, and this link was not explained by obesity,” said Seungho Ryu, MD, Ph. D., from the Center for Cohort Studies, Total Healthcare Center, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. “Previous studies have shown that long or irregular menstrual cycles are associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but our study is the first to find a link between long or irregular menstrual cycles and NAFLD.”

The researchers studied a dataset of 72,092 women under the age of 40. About 28% of these women had long or irregular menstrual cycles and 7% had NAFLD. Researchers followed up four years later and found that new cases of NAFLD occurred in nearly 9% of women. The researchers concluded that there was an association between long or irregular menstrual cycles in young premenopausal women and an increased risk of NAFLD.

“Young women with long or irregular menstrual cycles may benefit from lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of NAFLD as well as other cardiometabolic diseases,” Ryu said.

Other authors of this study include: In Young Cho, Yoosoo Chang, Jae-Heon Kang, Yejin Kim, Eunju Sung, and Hocheol Shin of Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea; Sarah Wild from the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, UK; and Christopher Byrne of the University of Southampton and University Hospital of Southampton in Southampton, UK

The study received funding from Sungkyunkwan University and the NIHR Center for Biomedical Research in Southampton.

The manuscript, “Long or Irregular Menstrual Cycles and Risk of Prevalent and Incident Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease”, was published online, ahead of print.

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