Journal of Health Research


Background - Obesity in young girls adversely affects reproductive health in later life and it is a serious public health issue. The objective was to study the association of obesity with menstrual irregularities and hormonal imbalance in teenage and adolescent girls.

Method – Participants were a convenience sample of 12-19 years old girls (N=83). Study setting was outpatients clinics at a university hospital. Data collected through medical history by interview, physical examination and blood tests were analysed using descriptive statistics, Chi Squared tests of Independence and Binary Logistic Regression.

Results – Median age was 16 years (mean 15.9, SD 2.2) and BMI was median 31.14 (mean 32.04, SD 4.51). Most of the girls were obese (95.2%) and some had a family history of obesity (33.7%), diabetes (28.9%) and cardiovascular disease (20.5 %). Common clinical presentation was secondary amenorrhea (34.9%), heavy and irregular periods (22.9%) and oligomenorrhea (16.9%). Girls with a polycystic ovary (PCO) (54.2%, n=45) had reversed follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) / luteinizing hormone (LH) ratio (OR 11.33, 95% CI 2.98, 43.04, p < 0.001), upper limit and raised fasting insulin (OR 7.20, 95% CI 2.33, 22.22, p < 0.001), raised testosterone (OR=5.16, 95% CI 1.56, 17.11, p = 0.007 and a disturbed lipid profile (OR 5.67, 95% CI 1.72, 18.73, p = 0.004). Obesity was not statistically significantly associated with PCOS or any of the measured hormone levels.

Conclusion – Adolescent girls presenting with obesity, menstrual irregularities and hormonal imbalance may suggest manifestation of PCOS, which needs early investigation and proper management.

Figure 1.png (7 kB)
BMI percentiles for girls aged 12-19 years according to World Health Organisation and the US Centre for Disease Control criteria