A new study of teenage girls with menstrual problems and other hormone-related symptoms finds they are far more worried about their future fertility that their healthy age-mates and need more health care and counseling than they are getting.
The findings, by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and Harvard University, were published in the February issue of the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.
Investigators surveyed 187 healthy teen girls and 97 teens with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder affecting an estimated 5 percent to 10 percent of girls and women of childbearing age. PCOS is marked by irregular menstrual cycles, excessive body hair, acne and obesity and is a leading cause of infertility.
Each teen completed quality of life and general health questionnaires that included questions about menstrual cycles, facial and body hair, sexual activity, future pregnancy plans, concerns about fertility, changes in health, mental health, family activities, pain and self-esteem. PCOS patients also were asked about the understanding of their condition, how they felt about it, and any impact it has had on their lives.
Teens with PCOS were more than three times as likely to be concerned about their future fertility as healthy girls. Fertility concerns were also associated with significantly lower scores in 10 of 12 categories on the quality of life questionnaire, particularly in the areas of self-esteem and mental health.
Fifty-four percent of teens with PCOS also reported that their condition
has had a negative impact on their lives, specifically in the way it has
affected their menstrual cycles, weight and problems with acne. According
to lead author Maria E. Trent, M.D., M.P.H., an adolescent medicine
specialist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, these findings support
previous research from a similar
Contact: Jessica Collins
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions