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Effects of sex-related factors on probability of disability in women with multiple sclerosis

It has been reported that oestrogen may affect the level of Th-1 / Th-2 lymphocytes and ratio of Th-1 and Th-2 that play an important role in immune pathogenesis in multiple sclerosis (MS). Therefore hormonal changes during transitional periods, such as pregnancy and menopause may affect the activity of the disease at different phases of the menstrual cycle.

The aim of this Turkish study was to determine the association of women with MS with variables such as menarche age, menstrual order and menopausal age and disease-related factors such as disability level and a number of attacks.

This descriptive study enrolled 281 women with MS. The participants were evaluated by a simple and short survey by the researchers. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, number of attacks and disease duration evaluated by a neurologist.

Sixty-seven (23.8%) of the total 281 patients had entered menopause. There is no significant difference in the terms of EDSS score of people with MS with or without menopause. Sixty patients (21.4%) had children after being diagnosed with MS. There was no significant difference between number of attacks pre and post child, or EDSS scores.

It was found that 80.4% of the patients had a regular menstrual cycle while 19.6% patients were irregular. The EDSS score was significantly higher in women with an irregular menstruation cycle than women with a regular menstruation cycle. There is a significant difference between the average age of when Turkish women begin menstruation (13.3) and the average age of menstruation of these women with MS (13.07).

Researchers concluded that menopause and childbearing may not affect disability level or the number of attacks women with MS experience. However, there could be a link between women with MS who start menstruation at an earlier age and an increased risk of MS, or with an earlier age at MS symptom onset.

This study was published in the ECTRIMS 2018 online library.

Source: MS-UK 12/10/2018

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