The Effect of Twin Sex on Menstrual Characteristics

Background and objectives: The purpose of this project is to evaluate the association between twin sex discordance and menstrual characteristics. We hypothesize that sharing the uterus with a male twin can change ovulation programming, hence changing the menstrual cycle characteristics during adulthood. This project could be novel in discovering new physiological mechanisms of hormone exposure and menstrual cycles. 

Materials and methods: This is a cross-sectional study. We asked females from sex-concordant (n = 1290) and sex-discordant (n = 168) twin pairs in the Washington State Twin Registry about characteristics of menstrual cycles. Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) analysis was used to compare groups. The main outcome measures included the amount of bleeding, duration of menstruation, the timing of menstruation, length of menstruation, and a number of periods per year. Results: We found a statistically significant association between the amount of menstrual period bleeding and twin sex discordance (0.42 (95% CI 0.18-0.94)). However, twin sex discordance was not associated with period duration, length of menstrual cycle, cycle regularity, or a number of periods per year. 

Conclusions: Twin sex discordance is not a predictor of clinical characteristics of menstruation during adulthood except for the amount of bleeding. Future studies should focus on the impact of male hormones on the amount of bleeding during menstruation.

Kowynia E, Jahanfar S. The Effect of Twin Sex on Menstrual Characteristics. Medicina (Kaunas). 2020 Apr 10;56(4):173. PMC7230271.