Menstrual Irregularities

What are menstrual irregularities?

One of the most common complaints of adolescent girls is irregular, profuse menstruation, called dysfunction uterine bleeding (DUB). The most common cause for DUB is when a woman's ovaries don't release an egg. Not ovulating causes her period to come later or earlier, and heavier than usual. Young girls commonly experience DUB because their menstrual cycles have not yet settled into a pattern and ovulation isn't occurring. Older adolescents may not ovulate with stress or illness.

The most common menstrual irregularities include:

  • Amenorrhea: absence of menstrual periods
  • Oligomenorrhea: Infrequent menstrual periods that occur more than 35 days apart
  • Menorrhagia: Heavy menstrual periods
  • Prolonged menstrual bleeding: Bleeding that exceeds 8 days
  • Dysmenorrhea: painful menstrual periods

How we care for menstrual irregularities

The Adolescent and Young Adult Reproductive Endocrinology Program and Division of Gynecology at Boston Children’s Hospital recognize the special needs of adolescents. Our experienced physicians evaluate and treat patients with a wide range of menstrual irregularities. 

The following guide may be helpful: Puberty and Your Menstrual Cycle: A Guide for Teens.