Women who suffer from asthma or poor lung function as adults generally started their periods at the age of 10 or before. This is the conclusion of a European research study with Spanish participation, which shows that this trend is more common in southern Europe, and particularly affects women from large families.
"Adult women who had their first menstruation at the age of 10 or earlier have significantly lower lung capacity than women who had their first period at 13", Ferenc Macsali, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Haukeland Hospital in Bergen (Norway), tells SINC.
The experts discovered that women who underwent early menarche (first menstruation) suffer more frequently from asthma, suggesting that metabolic and hormonal factors have an impact on the respiratory system. In addition, these girls tend to be smaller in stature and have higher levels of body fat than other girls their age.
The study, carried out on 3,354 women aged between 27 and 55, is part of a multi-centre study called the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). The countries that took part were Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Estonia.
According to the study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, early menstruation is more common in southern Europe and primarily affects women from large families. Smoking is also related to the onset of menstruation, since women who smoke tended to have their first period at the age of 10 or before.
As a preventive measure, the researchers recommend monitoring the symptoms of asthma in these girls more carefully and setting up a smoking-prevention programme that would also include early menstruation as a risk indicator.
Low birth weight
"The link between lower lung function, asthma and early menarche goes back to birth", the e
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology