New study suggests link between obesity and heavier periods

·1-min read

A new study has revealed a link between obesity and heavier periods.

The study could pave the way for more targeted treatments for those suffering from debilitating and painful heavy periods, as the findings suggest there may be a connection between higher body weight and greater menstrual blood loss which is possibly caused by a delayed repair of the womb lining.

One in three women are affected by heavy menstrual bleeding at some point in their lives, and while menstrual disorders are common, they are under-researched.

"Our findings suggest that women with obesity may experience heavier periods due to increased local inflammation and delayed repair of their womb lining," said Dr Maybin, from the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh. "It would be really interesting to investigate the reasons behind this to further our understanding of womb function in the presence of obesity and develop more effective, evidence-based treatments."

For the study, Dr Maybin and colleagues from the MRC Centre examined how body mass index (BMI) may affect womb function. The BMI of 121 women who all had regular menstrual cycles was measured along with menstrual blood loss, revealing a small association between the two factors. The study was then extended to mice, where mice on a high-fat diet were compared to mice on a normal diet.

After shedding the womb lining, the mice on the high-fat diet revealed a delayed repair to the remaining womb lining and greater inflammatory factors compared to the mice on a normal diet.

The findings suggest weight loss and anti-inflammatory medications could prove useful for obese women suffering from heavy periods.

Heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to increased work or school absence and feeling unable to carry out normal daily activities.