When you have a daughter that has reached puberty and began to menstruate (i.e. have her period), you might expect that there will be some kind of adjustment period for your daughter, both physically and emotionally. However, if it has been several months or even more than a year since her first menstrual cycle and her periods are still irregular and wholly unpredictable, you might be feeling concerned about her overall and reproductive health. Before you begin to panic about the well-being of your teenage daughter, get to know some of the steps that you should take to help your teenage daughter deal with her irregular periods and get her body onto a more regular cycle:
Look for Signs of Eating Disorder
Sometimes, the underlying cause of a young woman's irregular menstrual cycle is not just limited to her reproductive health. Eating disorders, for example, can cause a woman to have irregular or absent periods. Teenage girls are one of the demographic groups that are most prone to developing an eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.
Look for signs that your child has an eating disorder including extremely picky eating habits, skipped meals, sudden weight loss or weight gain, excessive exercise habits, hidden food, or self-mutilation behaviors. All of these are signs of a potential eating disorder.
If you think your child may have such a condition, take her to her pediatrician or primary care doctor and have them examine her and ask her questions about her eating habits, relationship with food, and exercise habits. This can help you get a diagnosis for your child and get her the help she needs not just for her menstrual cycle but for her overall physical and mental health.
Schedule an Appointment with a Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
If you have ruled out other potential causes for your daughter's irregular periods, the next logical step will be to take her to an ob/gyn. Physicians that specialize in obstetrics and gynecology are essentially specialists in women's reproductive health. When you take your daughter to see this type of doctor, they will as your daughter about her reproductive health history, sexual history, and will perform a basic exam and pap smear.
Because your daughter's menstruation is irregular, the ob/gyn may also recommend an ultrasound for your daughter. This is especially true if she also experiences severe cramping, periods that last more than five to seven days, or other concerning symptoms. An ultrasound will rule out possible health conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and other chronic reproductive health conditions.
Oftentimes, regardless of the reason for your teenager's irregular periods, an ob/gyn will recommend giving them a low-dose hormonal birth control medication. While you may worry that this encourages your daughter to become sexually active the only goal, in this case, is to regulate her hormones and therefore, her menstrual cycles.
With these tips in mind, you can be sure that you are taking the steps you should in order to help your teenage daughter get her periods regulated and understand what is causing the irregularities in the first place.
Contact a company like Bee Ridge Obstetrics Gynecology for more information and assistance.