Do women with HIV/AIDS on anti-retroviral therapy have a lower incidence of symptoms associated with menstrual dysfunction?

Tempest, Nicola ORCID: 0000-0003-3633-1592, Edirisinghe, Damitha N, Lane, Steven and Hapangama, Dharani K ORCID: 0000-0003-0270-0150
(2021) Do women with HIV/AIDS on anti-retroviral therapy have a lower incidence of symptoms associated with menstrual dysfunction? EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY AND REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY, 265. pp. 137-142.

Access the full-text of this item by clicking on the Open Access link.


<h4>Background</h4>Symptoms associated with menstruation and endometriosis are common amongst women of reproductive ages and the pathogenesis of these illnesses is postulated to be associated with aberrations in endometrial regeneration, immune response and in endometrial stem cell function. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been shown to enhance events seen in biological aging of tissues, with HIV/AIDS patients enduring the premature appearance of illnesses associated with stem-cell aging. Considering the intricate relationship between dysregulation of stem cell function, in both HAART therapy and in menstrual disorders/endometriosis, we sought to examine the prevalence of menstrual related symptoms (MRS) associated with endometriosis in women on HIV/AIDS therapy.<h4>Methods</h4>A menstrual related symptoms (MRS) questionnaire adapted from the British Society of Gynaecological Endoscopists (BSGE) pelvic pain questionnaire, which has been used in both clinical and research setting, was completed by 100 women living with HIV (WLWH) attending a specialist HIV clinic and by 100 women without a diagnosis of HIV attending the Sexual Health clinic (WWH). HIV related demographic details, including results from recent blood tests, were also recorded prospectively from the WLWH.<h4>Results</h4>WLWH were slightly older (37.7 vs. 34.8 years, P = 0.01); with higher BMI (28.9 vs. 24.8, P < 0.001); and were likely to be parous (85% vs. 54% P < 0.001) and non-Caucasian (79% vs 18%) compared with WWH. Most women in both groups had regular periods (77.9% vs. 74.7%), and WLWH were more likely to have a shorter duration of bleeding compared with WWH (81.4% vs 69.3% P = 0.05). However, WLWH were more likely to suffer with pre-menstrual tension compared with WWH (60.8% vs 50.6% P = 0.01).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our data suggests that WLWH, despite being older and of higher BMI, have a shorter duration of menstrual bleeding, and we hypothesise that this may possibly be due to the (beneficial) side effects of some HAART components. Further research is needed to explore the effect of HAART on MRS to determine if these therapies could be used in the future as a fertility retaining treatment for MRSs/endometriosis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: HIV, Menstrual related symptoms, Dysmenorrhoea, Endometriosis
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2021 10:53
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:23
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2021.08.027
Open Access URL:
Related URLs: