Girls diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes have a high frequency of menstrual irregularities — a symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), finds a study. PCOS — a hormonal disorder that enlarges ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges — causes insulin resistance, the hallmark of Type-2 diabetes. “It’s important for girls with Type-2 diabetes to be assessed for menstrual problems,” said lead author Megan Kelsey, from the University of Colorado in Aurora, US.
“Infrequent periods can be associated with heavy and painful periods, increased risk for fatty liver disease, fertility problems and long-term increased risk for endometrial cancer,” Kelsey added.
For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the team evaluated the frequency of menstrual irregularity in girls with recently diagnosed diabetes and whether the addition of intensive lifestyle or rosiglitazone to previous treatment with metformin helped to improve symptoms.
These treatments are often used to treat both diabetes and PCOS.
The researchers found that more than 20 per cent of girls had irregular periods. Many of those girls also had high testosterone levels, pointing to PCOS as an underlying cause.
However, not all the girls with irregular periods had elevated testosterone, suggesting other causes for menstrual dysfunction, including pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, infections, diseases, trauma and certain medications.
“Our findings suggest that girls with youth-onset diabetes may need the additional intervention above and beyond their diabetes treatment to improve their menstrual health,” Kelsey said.