Breastfeeding for 15 months or more over one or multiple pregnancies could make women less likely to develop multiple sclerosis, suggests a study.
-The study involved 397 women with an average age of 37 who were newly diagnosed with MS or its precursor, clinically isolated syndrome.
-The results for this group were compared with the outcomes of a group of 433 women who did not have MS. The healthy women were matched for race and age with their counterparts.
-The women were asked to fill questionnaires about pregnancies, breastfeeding, hormonal contraceptive use and other factors.
-Women who had breastfed for over 15 months with one or several pregnancies were 53% less likely to develop MS or clinically isolated syndrome than women who had a total of 0-4 months of breastfeeding.
-Eighty-five of the healthy women and 44 women with MS or CIS declared that they had breastfed for 15 months or longer. Out of the women with MS, 118 had not breastfed at all or had breastfed for up to 4 months. On the other hand, 110 healthy women declared they had breastfed between 0 and 4 months.
-Also, women who were age 15 or older at the time of their first menstrual cycle were 44% less likely to develop MS later than women who were 11 years old or younger at the time of their first menstruation.
-Experts suggest that there could be a possible link between sex hormones and these findings. It is suggested that maybe the lack of ovulation could have played a role. The study, however, does not prove that breastfeeding is responsible for the reduced risk of MS; it only shows the association.
Source: Neurology Journal