Age at Menarche and Menstrual Abnormalities in Adolescence: Does it Matter? The Evidence from a Large Survey among Italian Secondary Schoolgirls
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To explore the independent role of age at menarche on menstrual abnormalities among adolescents.
The present study was a multicenter cross-sectional study on a large sample (n = 3782) of Italian girls aged 13–21 y attending secondary school who already had menarche. Girls were asked to fill in a questionnaire on menarcheal age and menstrual features during the latest three menses. The gynecological age was computed as the difference between age at the survey and the age at menarche. Main outcome measures were: prevalence of oligomenorrhea, polymenorrhea, menstrual cycle irregularity, abnormal bleeding length and dysmenorrhea. Irregularity in the recent past and since menarche was also studied. Multiple logistic models were used to identify any independent association between each abnormal feature and age at menarche or gynecological age. Adjusted ORs and 95%CI were performed.
After adjusting for covariates, menarcheal age was not independently associated with polymenorrhea (OR = 0.81; 95%CI 0.63–1.04), oligomenorrhea (OR = 1.16; 95%CI 0.94–1.43), menstrual cycle irregularity (OR = 0.99; 95%CI 0.86–1.14), abnormal bleeding length (OR = 0.96; 95%CI 0.87–1.06) and dysmenorrhea (OR = 1.03; 95%CI 0.85–1.24). The multivariate analysis suggests that the higher prevalence of oligomenorrhea and menstrual cycle irregularity among the girls who were older at menarche might be purely explained by their younger gynecological age.
No evidence of any independent influence of age at menarche on menstrual abnormalities among young girls was shown by the investigation. The findings suggest that, after menarche, adolescent girls’ menstrual health should be checked to monitor the endocrine system maturation and to early intercept latent disorders becoming symptomatic.
KeywordsAge at menarche Gynecological age Menstrual irregularity Menstrual pattern Dysmenorrheal Schoolgirls
CDS conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, revision of the paper. VDS conception of the scientific question and design of the study, acquisition of data, interpretation of data, revision of the paper. EP conception of the scientific question and design of the study, analysis and interpretation of data, draft and revision of the paper. GR conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, interpretation of data, revision of the paper. FR conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, interpretation of data, revision of the paper. EP will act as guarantor for this paper.
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