First Study Links Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Early Menopause

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Early Menopause
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Early Menopause

(HealthDay News) — Menstrual abnormalities, endometriosis, pelvic pain, hysterectomy, and early/surgical menopause are all associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), according to research published online February 2 in Menopause.

The study included 84 women with CFS and a control group of 73 healthy women in Georgia who provided information about their gynecological health. Compared to those in the control group, the women with CFS were 12 times more likely to have pelvic pain that wasn't related to menstruation. They were also more likely to have excessive menstrual bleeding (74 vs. 42%) and more bleeding between periods (49 vs. 23%). The researchers also found that women with CFS were also more likely to miss periods (38 vs. 22%).

Women with CFS were more likely (57 vs. 26%) to use hormones for purposes other than birth control, such as to treat irregular periods, menopausal symptoms, or bone loss, than women without the condition. The researchers also found that 66% of women with CFS had undergone at least one gynecologic surgery, compared with 32% of those in the control group. The most common type of surgery was hysterectomy (55 vs. 19%). Hysterectomy-related early menopause (at or before age 45) occurred in 62% of women with CFS, compared with 33% of those in the control group. Bleeding as the reason for hysterectomy was much more common among women with CFS. Women with CFS also tended to undergo natural menopause earlier than those in the control group, but there was not a significant difference between the two groups, according to the study.

Previous research has linked chronic fatigue syndrome with pelvic pain and gynecologic conditions, such as endometriosis and menstrual abnormalities. But this is the first study to link CFS with early menopause, according to the study authors. They said further research is needed to learn more about this possible link, and that doctors need to watch for symptoms of CFS in women who have gynecologic or pelvic pain problems. Symptoms of CFS include muscle and joint pain, sleep or memory difficulties, and a worsening of these problems after exertion.

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