The aim of this study was to assess the influence of the normal menstrual cycle and of menopause on the gastric emptying rate of solids. Gastric emptying was studied in 15 premenopausal and ten postmenopausal women with an isotopic technique after the ingestion of a radiolabelled test meal. Premenopausal women were studied twice: within 1 week prior to menses and again 1 week after onset of menses. Postmenopausal women were studied only once. The emptying curves of the solid component of the meal fitted a linear model. The half-emptying time was 78 +/- 5 min during the follicular phase, 75 +/- 7 min during the luteal phase and 76 +/- 6 min in postmenopausal women (differences not statistically significant). The mean percentages of the meal retained in the stomach at different time intervals were also similar in the three groups. These results suggest that the menstrual cycle does not influence the gastric emptying rate of solids, which remains unchanged in relation to the follicular phase or after menopause.