Many hormonal changes occur during the teenage years. Young women often get their first periods during early adolescence, and many young girls experience symptoms such as acne, oily hair, mood swings and menstrual cramps. Most of these discomforts are a normal part of growing up. Occasionally, though, a teenage girl may exhibit signs and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance.
After a young woman menstruates for the first time, she may experience irregular periods for a few years, says KidsHealth. After three years, though, lingering irregularity may indicate a hormonal imbalance. If your daughter is 16 years old and still has not gotten her first period, or if she stops menstruating for a period of six months, take her to her doctor. Other causes for menstrual irregularities or absence may be stress, pregnancy, an eating disorder or weight loss or gain.
Menorrhagia, or very heavy menstrual bleeding, may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. KidsHealth says that this condition is common in young teens, because their hormones are still fluctuating. If your daughter bleeds through more than one pad per hour for several hours, or if a period continues past seven days, call the doctor to rule out conditions such as clotting disorders, thyroid problems or clotting disorders.
According to The Center for Young Women's Health, all women make a small amount of testosterone. If your daughter produces excess testosterone, you may notice facial hair growing on her upper lip and chin. This condition is called hirsutism, and it occurs frequently in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS. If you or your child has PCOS, the doctor may prescribe birth control pills, which can reduce the excess hair.
More PCOS Symptoms
Other symptoms that often occur in a woman or teenager with PCOS include acne, weight gain and acanthosis nigricans, which is patches of dark skin on the back of the neck, inner thighs and armpits. Some of these symptoms are also caused by diabetes or high levels of insulin, which can occur with PCOS. See your doctor if you suspect that you have PCOS or insulin imbalances.