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When You Visit Your Doctor - Irregular Menstrual Periods
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)
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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