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Study: HPV vaccination doesn't lead to premature menopause

By
Allen Cone
Adolescents who receive human papillomavirus vaccinations do not have an increased risk of premature menopause, according to a study. Photo by whitesession/pixabay
Adolescents who receive human papillomavirus vaccinations do not have an increased risk of premature menopause, according to a study. Photo by whitesession/pixabay

Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Adolescents who receive HPV vaccinations do not have an increased risk of premature menopause, according to a study.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente studied the safety of the human papillomavirus vaccination in regards to primary ovarian insufficiency. The findings were published in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection that affects 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most commonly it is spread during vaginal or anal sex.

A vaccine has been developed for HPV. Permanente estimated that 65 percent of 13-17-year-old girls received at least one HPV vaccination and less than half were up to date with the series. The figures are lower than other vaccines, including tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis at 88 percent.

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"Reports of premature menopause after HPV vaccination have received a lot of media attention, including on social media," Allison Naleway, PhD, lead author and investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., said in a press release. "However, these reports were based on a small number of isolated cases and must be interpreted with caution."

The researchers identified 199,078 females 11-34 years old with at least 30 days of health plan membership at Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest from August 2006 through the end of 2014. The vaccine first became available at Kaiser in 2006.

These female members were followed until health plan disenrollment, their 35th birthday or the end of the study period, whichever came first.

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In the study, 19,078 females received Tdap, 84,783 received the flu vaccine, 58,871 received the HPV vaccine and 46,231 received meningococcal conjugate.

They excluded 27 cases of POI, or premature ovarian insufficiency, with a known cause, including genetic conditions or surgical removal of the ovaries, as well as coding errors and conditions before 2006.

"In a population of 58,871 young women who received the HPV vaccine during the study period, we found only one case of an individual who possibly had symptoms of primary ovarian sufficiency after vaccination," Naleway said. "If POI is triggered by the HPV vaccine or another recommended adolescent vaccine, we would have expected to see higher incidence in the younger women who were most likely to be vaccinated. But we found no elevated risk for these individuals."

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The CDC worked with Kaiser on the study.

"The safety of adolescent vaccines is important to CDC, as it is for parents and health care providers," co-author Julianne Gee, of the CDC's Immunization Safety Office, said. "While the safety of these vaccines is well established, this important study offers additional population-based, scientific evidence that HPV and other adolescent vaccines do not negatively impact fertility in young women."

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