NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For women under age 45, uterine fibroid embolization doesn't advance the onset of menopause, Italian researchers report in the July 29 online Fertility and Sterility.
Uterine fibroid embolization may cause premature ovarian failure in up to 3% of women under age 45 years. Even in women where this is not seen, there's speculation that relative ovarian damage might occur, compromising subsequent ovarian function and advancing the onset of menopause.
To investigate this possibility, Dr. Giovanna Tropeano and colleagues from Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, assessed menopausal status annually in 43 regularly cycling patients ages 35 to 44 years who underwent embolization and in 43 age-matched controls. Thirty-six of the 43 pairs of women completed the seven-year follow-up.
During this follow-up, nine patients (25%) and 12 controls (33%) became menopausal, 19 patients (53%) and 18 controls (50%) entered the menopausal transition, and eight patients (22%) and six controls (17%) remained premenopausal.
The mean time to menopause was 79.4 months for patients and 78.5 months for controls (p = 0.45), and the mean age at menopause was 48.94 years for patients and 49.52 years for controls (p = 0.53).
"The mean age at menopause in our study population is consistent with recent data from the general Italian population," the investigators say.
Serum FSH and estradiol levels increased over time and mean antral follicle count and ovarian volume decreased over time to a similar extent in the two groups of women.
"This long-term follow-up study found no evidence for uterine fibroid embolization advancing the timing of menopause in women aged < 45 years," the researchers conclude. "We think that these findings may have important implications for the counseling of patients and treatment decision making."
Fertil Steril 2011.
Last Updated: 2011-08-11 18:21:26 -0400 (Reuters Health)
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