When You Visit Your Doctor — Irregular Menstrual Periods

The Family Health Guide

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)