HealthDay (8/25, Reinberg) reports “the length of your monthly menstrual cycle may provide clues about the severity of symptoms you’ll experience during menopause and when it will start.” 

According to a study published in the journal Menopause, investigators “found that women with short menstrual cycles (fewer than 25 days) during their reproductive years were likely to experience more menopause symptoms” and “were also more likely to start menopause earlier than women with normal menstrual cycles (26 to 34 days).” The study also found that “women with short cycles […] were more likely to have midlife sleep problems, heart discomfort, and depressive symptoms.”

We published a study in 2006 on the clinical characteristics of women with endometriosis which showed that short cycles were statistically linked with endometriosis and a Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR).  Since endometriosis causes DOR, it would make sense that the above findings would be true. We know that for women under the age of 42 short cycles correlate with DOR and that the average DOR patient goes through menopause around the age of 44. 

In the 8-10 years preceding menopause, we see signs of low estrogen in nearly all patients. Most women with low estrogen levels suffer from anxiety, headaches, concentration issues, and sleep problems.  Estrogen supplementation can resolve many of these symptoms and replace the need for multiple medications–a fact that most endometriosis surgeons in the country overlook.  

We found that, while patients with endometriosis may suffer from pain and bleeding, around 50% of their discomfort and the unpleasant symptoms they experience arise from low estrogen levels. For women who perform aerobic exercises regularly, symptoms may manifest at a much younger age due to brain stress suppressing ovarian function. Thankfully, low-dose estrogen supplementation can relieve all of these findings.

Michael D. Fox, MD
Advanced Reproductive Specialists
Jacksonville Center For
Reproductive Medicine