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Later Age at Menarche Tied to Lower Odds of Endometriosis

But an early history of dysmenorrhea is associated with an increased risk of developing the condition

THURSDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of endometriosis is lower in women who experience their first period at an older age and higher in women who report an early dysmenorrhea history, according to research published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Susan A. Treloar, Ph.D., of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues analyzed menstrual cycle data on 268 women with moderate to severe endometriosis and 244 women without the condition.

The researchers found that endometriosis was much less likely to occur in women who experienced menarche at a later age, after 14 (odds ratio, 0.3). A history of dysmenorrhea was found to be associated with later endometriosis (odds ratio, 2.6). Other characteristics, such as duration of menstruation, heaviness of bleeding, type of sanitary protection used, or intercourse during menstruation, did not appear to play a role in risk for endometriosis.

"In summary, this study has shown that later age at menarche is inversely associated with subsequent endometriosis, and early dysmenorrhea is positively associated with endometriosis. The time period analysis indicates that these characteristics are displayed by cases before the reported onset of their endometriosis symptoms," the authors write.

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