Air Pollution Linked To Menstrual Irregularities

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Air Pollution Linked To Menstrual Irregularities

Every woman has her own menstrual cycle until she reaches menopause. The uterus grows a lining called endometrium to get ready for the fertilized egg. When there is no fertilized egg to start a pregnancy, the uterus starts to shed its lining. This is when menstrual bleeding occurs. Some women have a regular menstrual cycle and their periods begin at a specific date each month.

Other girls and women have irregular cycles meaning their periods don’t occur regularly. This can be quite a nuisance for women who are trying to get pregnant. Numerous factors include menstrual cycle and air pollution is one of them, the latest study says.

Air Pollution and Menstrual Cycle

Considering that millions of women and girls have irregular periods, scientists are constantly working on new studies that would explain why that happens. Professor Shruthi Mahalingaiah and a team of researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine carried out an interesting study.

The primary objective of their research was to analyze the relationship between premenarchal exposure to total suspended particulate (TSP) and regularity of menstrual cycle. Premenarchal or perimenarchal is a term that relates to the time before the first menstrual period occurs.

In order to get their answers, scientists used health and location data gathered in the Nurses’ Health Study 2 which involved 34,832 of the original 116,430 women enrolled in the 1989 study. Researchers also used EPA air quality monitoring system in order to get a more detailed insight into participants’ exposure during a specific time window.

Findings from this research were published in the Human Reproduction[1] journal and they showed that higher exposure to air pollution during high school was strongly associated with the irregular menstrual cycle.

How Does Air Pollution Affect Menstrual Cycle?

Mahalingaiah explains[2] that air pollution not only increases the risk of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, but it can also affect the reproductive endocrine system. This could happen because menstrual cycle is responsive to hormone regulation. Particles present in air pollution affect our hormones.

Exposure to air pollution, particularly in puberty and early adulthood, has a major influence on a menstrual cycle and contribute to irregular periods. Reducing the exposure to pollution could be an effective way of normalizing menstrual irregularities.

These findings also show that air pollution has a major influence on our health although we are witnessing the trend in politics that tries to downplay its effects.

Air Pollution Affect Menstrual Cycle

Factors that Affect Menstrual Cycle

How to Get Menstrual Cycle On Track

Every woman deals with irregular periods at one point or another. It can be frustrating because you don’t know when to expect it or if you want to conceive. Understanding factors that affect the regularity of periods allows you to make necessary changes for regular periods. You can:

  • Quit smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Consult your doctor regarding medications you’re taking
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Keep weight in a healthy range
  • Exercise regularly, but don’t overdo it
  • Adhere to doctor’s recommendations if you have PCOS


The latest study showed that exposure to air pollution contributes to irregular periods because particles from air affect hormone levels and disrupt their balance. More research is needed on this subject to uncover more details about it. This only shows that air pollution has a serious impact on our quality of lives.

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Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed ()

This Article Has Been Published on February 2, 2018 and Last Modified on December 10, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain Shams University. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

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