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Air Pollution May Affect Menstrual Cycles, Study Says

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Having an irregular menstrual cycle does not necessarily mean that a woman needs medical help. But  a new study has found another troubling cause for irregular cycles, and it has to do with pollution.

Air pollution is one major environmental concern that also drastically affects public health. Pollution is one of the primary causes of premature death, a 2015 study stated, and it’s getting worse because of climate change, Bustle reports. Now, it turns out females are more likely to have an irregular period if they breathed in polluted air as a teenager.

Researchers from Boston University Medical Campus and Harvard School of Public Health examined data from 34,832 women and compared the irregularities of menstrual cycles across the respondents, along with their exposure to air pollution when they were in high school.

It turned out that women who were exposed to greater levels of total suspended particulate (TSP) in air had an increased risk of having an irregular period. In addition, women who were exposed to air pollution saw a longer time to regular menstrual cycles in high school and early adulthood.

The study found that,

The menstrual cycle is responsive to hormonal regulation. Particulate matter air pollution has demonstrated hormonal activity.

In short, air pollution can affect the human body in unexpected ways.

A 2017 study discovered that air pollutants can change metabolism and increase stress. This research adds evidence to the idea that pollutants can disrupt hormones.

Climate change affects air quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and researchers are uncertain as yet on the full extent of this problem. Air pollution also disproportionately affects low-income communities, exposing women who are black, Asian and Latin to more health hazards compared to white communities, according to a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.

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