Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Etiology of the disease is not well understood; however, it is more common in women than in men and occurs mainly during reproductive age. The aim of this study was to evaluate some risk factors in women of childbearing age with MS in Isfahan Province.
Methods: This analytic case-control study was conducted in MS Clinic in Isfahan, 2014. The study was done on 200 patients with MS and 200 nonpatients (matched controls) that were randomly selected for inclusion in the study. The data collection tool was a researcher-designed questionnaire consisting of three parts: Demographics, disease characteristics, and some risk factors related to reproductive age. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 20, using descriptive and inferential statistics.
Results: The results showed that risk of MS had a significant relationship with age at menarche (P < 0.001), prior use of oral contraceptives (OCs) (P = 0.002), duration of use of OCs (P = 0.008), and number of pregnancies (P < 0.001). However, there was no significant relationship between age of onset of use of OCs (P = 0.80) and age at the first pregnancy (P = 0.45) with the risk of MS.
Conclusions: Results of this research determined that the following risk factors were associated with developing MS, age at menarche, history, and duration of use of OCs and number of pregnancies.
Keywords: Menarche; multiple sclerosis; oral contraceptive; pregnancy; reproductive age; women.