Irregular periods in teens linked to health risks: study

May 27th, 2011

Teenagers who have irregular periods are more likely to be overweight and obese and to have early warning signs of diabetes and heart disease than those with regular menstrual cycles, a study said.

While the link between irregular periods and heart disease and diabetes is well-established in older women, the findings, published in “Fertility and Sterility,” suggest that doctors might be able to identify this risk much earlier — and try to do something about it.

“There may be a misconception in adolescent medicine …that it ‘takes a couple of years after menarche to get the engine running’ and hence one might not want to be concerned about irregular adolescent menstrual cycles until much later,” said Charles Glueck, one of the study’s authors, from the Cholesterol and Metabolism Center at the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati.

“That’s clearly wrong,” he added, noting that even in young teenagers, very irregular menstrual cycles are not normal and should not be ignored.

Glueck and his colleagues followed 370 girls, starting at age 14, as part of a larger study initiated by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Once every year, girls were asked how long it had been since their last menstrual cycle. Researchers also periodically measured their levels of different sex hormones, glucose and insulin, and blood pressure.

They also collected information on girls’ height, weight and waist circumference.

The authors defined irregular menstrual cycles as lasting more than 42 days, a criterion that’s meant to catch the 2 percent of girls with the least regular periods, Glueck said.

Between age 14 and 19, 269 of the girls reported regular periods at every annual visit. Another 74 of them had only one report of an irregular period, 19 girls had two reports, and eight said it had been at least 42 days since their last period at three or more visits.

The girls with the most reports of irregular periods were already heavier than others at age 14, and gained more weight and inches on their waist during the study. They also had higher levels of testosterone.

By age 25, those who hadn’t reported an irregular period an average body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight against height, of 26.8. Those who had reported irregular periods at three or more appointments had an average BMI of 37.8 while girls who reported one or two irregular periods had BMIs somewhere in the middle.

Reports of irregular periods were also linked to higher levels of blood sugar and insulin at age 25.

The authors couldn’t be sure what was happening with girls’ menstrual cycles during the rest of the year. Also, the findings do not prove that irregular periods cause girls to gain weight or are responsible for the increases in glucose and insulin levels — rather, the irregularity could signal another problem.

One possibility is that the ovaries might respond to changes in metabolism, such as increased insulin levels, said Alice Chang, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern Medical center, suggesting that some of the diabetes-related risks came before problems with ovulation.

Irregular periods might be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, which can cause fertility problems, Glueck said. But catching it in adolescence means it can be “very successfully treated.”

Chang, who was not involved in the latest study, agreed that the implications for PCOS are an important message to take from the study.

“When I see women diagnosed with PCOS, they often have symptoms all through adolescence, but it’s not put together for them. We need to be more aggressive in adolescents about treating PCOS and treating obesity,” she said.

28 Responses to “Irregular periods in teens linked to health risks: study”

  1. Affliction Jeans Says:

    hello,buddy. I was directed by one of my roomates to read your blog. I love the design of the blog greatly. This article is very awesome. Please keep on the good work. I surely will support it oftenly and recommend it to my friends.

  2. pregnancy depression Says:

    Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found this board and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to offer something back and aid others like you aided me.

  3. foods that make you poop Says:

    Ah, reminds me of the famous quote”Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.” – Winston Churchill

  4. barriles Says:

    Thanks for an idea, you sparked at idea from a concept I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

  5. Rosana Ulven Says:

    Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

  6. Ventura Chiropractic Says:

    Awesome post. Saved on StumbleUpon :)

  7. relativity Says:

    I respect the commitment you put into your weblog. I wish I had the same drive :)

  8. penny stock picks Says:

    Its really fantasting.Keep your good work.I bookmarked your website.

  9. Area rug clearance Says:

    Significant manual, that I needed.

  10. Marital Affair Says:

    It makes such a change to find a well thought out blog, I’ll be checking back for more of your insight.

  11. Ngoc Denyer Says:

    Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too wonderful. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is really a wonderful site.

  12. Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms Says:

    Thank you a lot for providing individuals with such a superb opportunity to read articles and blog posts from here. It is often very terrific and as well , full of amusement for me and my office colleagues to visit your website at least 3 times in a week to study the latest stuff you have got. Of course, I’m just always amazed concerning the excellent strategies you give. Some two areas in this post are unquestionably the very best we’ve had.

  13. Aurora Sangalli Says:

    Interesting stuff mate.

  14. pro soccer direct Says:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I’m hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own website now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  15. medical billing Says:

    very nice read! Will check back some other time to see if you add additions to your post.

  16. hosting murah Says:

    This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is very nice one and gives indepth information. thanks for this nice article

  17. Jenibelle Says:

    I wanted to spend a minute to thank you for this.

  18. Esee Knives Says:

    I believe this web site holds very wonderfully composed content blog posts.

  19. interval training weight loss Says:

    Merely wanna state that this is very useful , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  20. medical billing training Says:

    I just wanted to say splendid work on the post. It really gave me a better insight on a subject I am not to familar with.

  21. mobile phone car mount Says:

    I’m now not positive where you’re getting your information, however great topic. I needs to spend some time finding out much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

  22. bank repossessed cars for sale Says:

    I came to the exact conclusion myself not too long ago. Nice read and I shall be sure to check back often for additional postings.

  23. Edyth Balick Says:

    Hey there,You have a wonderful Website. Will be back to check it out again soon. Till than have a good day!

    Yours Sincerly

  24. ultrasound salary Says:

    What a magnificant article you have made. I just stopped by to tell you I really appreciated the read and shall be dropping by from time to time from now on.

  25. tampa international SEO consultant Says:

    Thanks for the writeup about this. Greatly appreciated.

  26. Jimmie Rounsville Says:

    Really clean site, regards for this post.

  27. Senuke X review Says:

    I think this is among the most important info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The site style is great, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  28. denim jackets for guys Says:

    you have an awesome weblog here! would you wish to make some invite posts on my weblog?

Leave a Reply