Early or late first menstruation

The age at which a woman experiences their first period (shedding of the lining of the uterus) influences their lifetime risk of heart conditions and stroke. 

A woman's risk of developing heart conditions and stroke increases if they get their period early, before the age of 12, or late, after age 14.  


Elements of a woman’s menstrual cycle and the changes that happen over the course of menstruation play a role in long-term risk for heart conditions and stroke.    
Having an irregular menstrual cycle might be linked to an increased risk of heart conditions and stroke and their related risk factors, such as diabetes. 

Hormonal contraceptives 

The use and type of contraceptives (methods to prevent pregnancy) including implants, injections, patches, vaginal rings, and combined oral contraceptives, are important to consider when assessing a woman’s risk for heart conditions and stroke. 

Oral contraceptives generally have a low risk of heart and stroke related events. There are some important factors to consider when choosing contraceptives related to levels of risk.  

  • Estrogen-based contraceptives may increase a woman’s risk of having blood clots, which could result in heart attack or stroke.   
  • Women who use contraceptives and are older than 35 have increased risk, especially if they already have risk factors, such as smoking, existing medical conditions like previous stroke or heart condition, high blood pressure, or medical complications with pregnancy.  

It’s important to discuss contraception options with healthcare providers to select the best option based on your particular risk profile.