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Age at Menarche and Menstrual Abnormalities in Adolescence: Does it Matter? The Evidence from a Large Survey among Italian Secondary Schoolgirls

  • Vincenzo De Sanctis
  • Franco Rigon
  • Sergio Bernasconi
  • Luigi Bianchin
  • Gianni Bona
  • Mauro Bozzola
  • Fabio Buzi
  • Carlo De Sanctis
  • Giorgio Tonini
  • Giorgio Radetti
  • Egle PerissinottoEmail author
Review Article
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Abstract

Objective

To explore the independent role of age at menarche on menstrual abnormalities among adolescents.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Keywords

Age at menarche Gynecological age Menstrual irregularity Menstrual pattern Dysmenorrheal Schoolgirls 

Notes

Contributions

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.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

None.

Source of Funding

None.

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Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincenzo De Sanctis
    • 1
  • Franco Rigon
    • 2
  • Sergio Bernasconi
    • 3
  • Luigi Bianchin
    • 4
  • Gianni Bona
    • 5
  • Mauro Bozzola
    • 6
  • Fabio Buzi
    • 7
  • Carlo De Sanctis
    • 8
  • Giorgio Tonini
    • 9
  • Giorgio Radetti
    • 10
  • Egle Perissinotto
    • 11
    Email author
  1. 1.Private Accredited Hospital QuisisanaPediatric and Adolescent Outpatients ClinicFerraraItaly
  2. 2.Department of Women’s and Child HealthUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  4. 4.Child Psychiatric Unit, Local Health and Social Care Services - ULSS 6 EuganeaPaduaItaly
  5. 5.Division of Pediatrics, Department of Mother and Child HealthAzienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Maggiore della CaritàNovaraItaly
  6. 6.Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, Section of Childhood and Adolescence, Foundation IRCCS San MatteoUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  7. 7.Department of Pediatrics“Carlo Poma” HospitalMantovaItaly
  8. 8.Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, Ospedale Infantile Regina MargheritaTurinItaly
  9. 9.University of TriesteTriesteItaly
  10. 10.Department of PediatricsRegional Hospital of BolzanoBolzanoItaly
  11. 11.Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular Science and Public HealthUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly

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