HealthDay News — Exposure to air pollution during high school is associated with a slightly higher likelihood of menstrual irregularity and longer time to regularity, according to a study published online in Human Reproduction.

Shruthi Mahalingaiah, MD, from Boston University, and colleagues assessed data from 34,832 participants enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II to investigate the association between perimenarchal exposure to total suspended particulate (TSP) in air and menstrual irregularity.

The researchers found that for every 45 μg/m3 increase in average high school TSP, there was an increased odds for moderate irregularity (1.08; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.14), persistent irregularity (1.08; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.15), and persistent with androgen excess irregularity (1.1; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.25).

There was also an association between TSP and a longer time to cycle regularity. Results were stronger among women with older ages at menarche and those living in the Northeast or the West.

“Temporal exposure to air pollution in the adolescent and early adulthood window may be especially important, given its association with phenotypes of menstrual irregularity,” the authors write.

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Mahalingaiah S, Missmer SE, Cheng JJ, Chavarro J, Laden F, Hart JE. Perimenarchal air pollution exposure and menstrual disorders [published online January 25, 2018]. Hum Reprod. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dey005