Air pollution can influence women's reproductive health, specifically menstrual cycle characteristics, oocyte quality, and risk of miscarriage. The aim of the study was to assess whether air pollution can affect the length of the overall menstrual cycle and the length of its phases (follicular and luteal). Municipal ecological monitoring data was used to assess the air pollution exposure during the monitored menstrual cycle of each of 133 woman of reproductive age. Principal component analyses were used to group pollutants (PM10, SO₂, CO, and NOx) to represent a source-related mixture. PM10 and SO₂ assessed separately negatively affected the length of the luteal phase after standardization (b = -0.02; p = 0.03; b = -0.06; p = 0.02, respectively). Representing a fossil fuel combustion emission, they were also associated with luteal phase shortening (b = -0.32; p = 0.02). These pollutants did not affect the follicular phase length and overall cycle length, neither in single- nor in multi-pollutant models. CO and NOx assessed either separately or together as a traffic emission were not associated with overall cycle length or the length of cycle phases. Luteal phase shortening, a possible manifestation of luteal phase deficiency, can result from fossil fuel combustion. This suggests that air pollution may contribute to fertility problems in women.
Keywords: air pollution; carbon monoxide; luteal phase; menstrual cycle; nitrogen oxides; particulate matter; reproductive health; sulfur dioxide.