Too many periods may contribute to cause of ovarian cancer.

How many periods you have in your lifetime seems to increase risk of ovarian cancer.

This is not old news, but new research further supports the link between periods and ovarian cancer.

So how can periods, or menstruation, which is part of nature’s process, lead to ovarian cancer?

Menstruation results when an egg, which comes from the ovary, doesn’t get fertilized by sperm.

It’s not the actual menstruation (bleeding) that’s been tied to this high-mortality malignancy.

It’s ovulation, because when a woman ovulates, the egg (ovum) is released from the ovary, and this “injures” tissue of the ovary, which then gets repaired.

The continuous injury and repair process may somehow contribute to this deadly malignancy.

So every time a woman has a period, this means that this injury and repair process to the tissue of her ovaries has occurred, and hence, the correlation between number of periods and this type of cancer.

Having one’s period is a marker for the ovarian tissue “injury.” The theory then says that in some women (ovarian cancer is actually rare), ovulation causes the cells in the tissue to transform into cancer. But how this happens is not known.

This is actually a giant leap of conclusion, but statistics favor it because ovarian cancer risk has been shown to be lowered with use of oral contraceptives.

Further, a higher risk of ovarian cancer exists for women who’ve:

1) never bore children

2) had their first child after age 30

3) began having periods before age 12, and

4) had late menopause. These variables influence number of times that a woman ovulates in her lifetime.

“By looking at pre-cancerous lesions and ovarian tumours, we hope to improve our understanding of the relationship between the injury, the healing process and ovarian cancer,” says Dr Tanya Shaw and her research team at St George’s, University of London

Symptoms of this dreadful disease: appetite suppression or quickly feeling full after eating when normally you don’t, increased abdominal girth, bloating, indigestion, abdominal or pelvic pain or heaviness, unexplained weight loss, unexplained fatigue, low back pain, leg pain, change in bowel habits, gas, nausea, and excessive need to urinate.

Note: These symptoms don’t always mean ovarian cancer, and can have benign causes, but if you have them for longer than a few weeks, see a gynecologist.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological malignancy because symptoms typically don’t start presenting until the disease has reached an incurable stage. No screening methods exist.