Irregular Menstrual Periods
Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:
- Have you been experiencing high levels of stress?
- How much do you exercise?
- Have you ever had an eating disorder?
- Have you lost weight recently?
- Have you been intolerant of heat or cold.
- Have you had rapid heartbeats, dry skin, hair loss, constipation or diarrhea, or a change in weight (these are symptoms of thyroid abnormalities, which can cause irregular periods)?
- Do you have abnormal body hair?
- Have you gained weight?
- Do you have regular menstrual cycles?
- Is your bleeding always heavy or prolonged?
- How old were you when you started menstruating?
- How long ago did you develop irregular periods?
- When you do have your period, is it accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal cramping, mood changes, and bloating?
- Are you sexually active?
- When was your last period?
- How many times have you been pregnant?
- What was the outcome of each pregnancy (live births, miscarriages, cesarean sections)?
- Have you ever had difficulty getting pregnant?
Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:
- Heart rate, blood pressure, and weight
- Heart and lungs
- Pelvic examination
Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:
- Pregnancy test
- Blood tests for certain hormone levels (thyroid stimulating hormone, cortisol, prolactin, follicle stimulating hormone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, testosterone, DHEA)
- 24-hour urine collection for free cortisol
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Pap smear (see p. 1066)