We aimed to evaluate the association between menstrual cycle irregularity and suicidal ideation in Korean women.
Data on 5,606 women from the 2010–2012 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a population-based cross-sectional study, were included. Menstrual cycle irregularity, suicidal ideation, current occupational status, age at menarche, education level, household income, and marital status were assessed through questionnaires with trained interviewers. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed after adjusting for age, socioeconomic status, smoking and drinking status, age at menarche, comorbid diseases, and physical activity.
In the multivariate-adjusted models, we found significant associations between menstrual cycle irregularity and suicidal ideation (odds ratio [OR], 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.44 [1.14–1.82]). This association was particularly noticeable in women aged 12 to 29 years (OR [95% CI] = 1.45 [1.04–2.03]), in those who had menarche at a relatively early age (aged 8–13 years) (OR [95% CI] = 1.60 [1.15–2.23]), and in those who were currently employed (OR [95% CI] = 1.46 [1.05–2.04]).
Suicidal ideation was evaluated based on the participants’ self-reports, and were therefore subjective in nature. Additionally, due to the cross-sectional design and use of retrospective data, causal relationships could not be drawn.
Women with irregular menstrual cycles were 1.42 times more likely to have suicidal ideation than those with regular cycles. More attention should be paid to menstrual cycle irregularity when attempting to improve levels of suicidal ideation.