Menstrual cycle characteristics and steroid hormone, prolactin, and growth factor levels in premenopausal women.
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PURPOSE: Menstrual cycle characteristics are markers of endocrine milieu. However, associations between age at menarche and adulthood sex steroid hormone levels have been inconsistent, and data on menstrual characteristics and non-sex steroid hormones are sparse. METHODS: We assessed the relations of menstrual characteristics with premenopausal plasma sex steroid hormones, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), prolactin, and growth factors among 2,745 premenopausal women (age 32-52) from the Nurses' Health Study II. Geometric means and tests for trend were calculated using multivariable general linear models. RESULTS: Early age at menarche was associated with higher premenopausal early-follicular free estradiol (percent difference < 12 vs. > 13 years = 11%), early-follicular estrone (7%), luteal estrone (7%), and free testosterone (8%) (all ptrend < 0.05). Short menstrual cycle length at age 18-22 was associated with higher early-follicular total (< 26 vs. > 39 days = 18%) and free estradiol (16%), early-follicular estrone (9%), SHBG (7%), lower luteal free estradiol (- 14%), total (- 6%), and free testosterone (- 15%) (all ptrend < 0.05). Short adult menstrual length was associated with higher early-follicular total estradiol (< 26 vs. > 31 days = 14%), SHBG (10%), lower luteal estrone (- 8%), progesterone (- 9%), total (- 11%) and free testosterone (- 25%), and androstenedione (- 14%) (all ptrend < 0.05). Irregularity of menses at 18-22 was associated with lower early-follicular total (irregular vs. very regular = - 14%) and free estradiol (- 14%), and early-follicular estrone (- 8%) (All ptrend < 0.05). Irregularity of adult menstrual cycle was associated with lower luteal total estradiol (irregular vs. very regular = - 8%), SHBG (- 3%), higher total (8%), and free testosterone (11%) (all ptrend < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Early-life and adulthood menstrual characteristics are moderately associated with mid-to-late reproductive year's hormone concentrations. These relations of menstrual characteristics with endogenous hormone levels could partially account for associations between menstrual characteristics and reproductive cancers or other chronic diseases.
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Cancer Causes Control, 2017, 28 (12), pp. 1441 - 1452