According to a recent study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, women with lengthy or irregular periods are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but they may also be at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
NAFLD, a chronic illness in which extra fat builds up in the liver, affects around 24% of individuals in the United States. Heavy drinking does not induce fat accumulation. NAFLD can lead to persistent liver impairment, which is linked to an increased risk of mortality. Because no drugs have been licenced to treat NAFLD, the mainstay of therapy is diet and exercise.
The researchers looked at data from 72,092 women under the age of 40. Around 28% of these women had lengthy or irregular menstrual periods, whereas 7% had NAFLD. Four years later, the researchers observed that nearly 9% of the women had developed new instances of NAFLD. The researchers discovered a link between lengthy or irregular menstrual cycles and an elevated risk of NAFLD in young, premenopausal women.
“Young women with long or irregular menstrual cycles may benefit from lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of NAFLD as well as other cardiometabolic diseases,” Ryu said.