Age at menarche and risks of gestational diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of prospective studies

Ya Xiao _, Ruixue Chen, Minghao Chen, Anling Luo, Dayi Chen, Qiuer Liang, Yunfei Cai, Liguo Chen and Xiaoshan Zhao

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:17133-17140. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23658

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Ya Xiao1,*, Ruixue Chen1,*, Minghao Chen2,*, Anling Luo3, Dayi Chen3, Qiuer Liang1, Yunfei Cai1, Liguo Chen1 and Xiaoshan Zhao4

1School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou, 510632, China

2Reproductive center, Guangdong Women and Children Hospital, Guangzhou, 511400, China

3School of Basic Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou, 510632, China

4School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, 510515, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Liguo Chen, email: tchenly@jnu.edu.cn

Xiaoshan Zhao, email: zhaoxs0609@163.com

Keywords: menarche; menarcheal age; gestational diabetes

Received: August 21, 2017     Accepted: October 29, 2017     Epub: December 23, 2017     Published: March 30, 2018


Background: Accumulating evidence suggests that early menarche is associated with adult obesity, which in turn may increase the risk of insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. However, the relation of menarcheal age with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) remains inconsistent across studies. The objective of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the association between age at menarche and GDM risk.

Materials and Methods: We searched Medline (PubMed), Embase, Web of Knowledge and the Cochrane library through the end of May 2017. We pooled summary relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Stata 12.0 software was used to analyse the data.

Results: Five prospective studies were eligible for inclusion. The results of meta-analysis showed that women in the early menarcheal age group (at < 12 years of age) had a higher risk of GDM compared with those in the “not early” menarcheal age group (at ≥ 13 years of age) (pooled RR = 1.31, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.56) with moderate heterogeneity (I2 = 47.5%, P = 0.107). However, there was no obvious protection of late menarche (at ≥ 15 years of age) versus median menarche (at 13 years of age) (pooled RR = 1.12, 95% CI: 0.92, 1.32; I2 = 0%).

Conclusions: The findings support an association between earlier age at menarche and increased risk of GDM. Age at menarche may help identify women with increased risk of developing GDM. However, considering the potential limitations in this study, further larger prospective studies are warranted to verify our findings.

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