KidsMD Health Topics

Menstrual Irregularities

  • Overview

    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.

    How Boston Children's Hospital approaches menstrual irregularities

    The Center for Young Women's Health provides extensive and easy to access information for girls with questions about her menstrual cycle. The following guide may be helpful to her: Puberty and Your Menstrual Cycle: A Guide for Teens.

    »
    Boston Children's Hospital 
    333 Longwood Avenue
    Across from the Main Hospital
    Boston MA 02115

     617-355-7648


  • In-Depth

    What are the symptoms of menstrual irregularities?

    If your daughter has dysfunctional uterine bleeding, she may notice:

    • bleeding or spotting from the vagina occurs between periods
    • menstrual periods may be less than 28 days, or more than 35 days apart
    • the time between each cycle changes each time
    • the need to change her pad or tampon during the night or every few hours
    • bleeding that lasts for more than seven days

    What causes menstrual irregularities?

    Conditions that cause a lack of ovulation could be the culprit of menstrual irregularities or dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Common causes include:

    • eating disorders
    • weight changes
    • athletic competition
    • chronic illnesses
    • drug abuse
    • endocrine disorders
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

    If your daughter has a vertical or complete vaginal septum, she has two openings to her vagina, and this may prevent one tampon from stopping the flow of blood.

  • Tests

    How are menstrual irregularities diagnosed?

    • If your daughter is experiencing irregular and profuse menstrual bleeding, her physician will perform a pelvic exam to rule out the possibility of pregnancy disorders or pelvic infections.
    • In cases of excessive bleeding, a Hematocrit blood test will determine the amount of blood loss.
  • Menstrual irregularities treatment at Children's

    • During the first few years of a girl's menstrual cycle, she may not benefit from treatment unless heavy blood loss causes anemia. A physician may recommend an iron supplement for the anemia.
    • Oral birth control pills or other hormonal treatments are often used to regulate an irregular menstrual cycle
    • The Center for Young Women's Health provides extensive and easy to access information for girls with questions about her menstrual cycle.
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Doctors Who Treat "Menstrual Irregularities"

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
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