Menstrual Reproductive Disorder

  • Overview

    Menstrual problems are common among teens. Each girl’s body is different, and each girl experiences puberty differently. Here at Children’s Hospital Boston, we recognize that problems with menstruation can often be emotionally challenging, and that’s why we focus on treating your daughter as a person, and not just a patient.

    Specialists in our Reproductive Endocrine Practice evaluate and treat male and female patients with a wide range of adolescent reproductive and endocrine disorders that affect reproductive function. We are one of the busiest programs of our type in the country and have been serving the needs of patients and their families since 1970.

    Your child is in good hands with us.

    Menstrual reproductive disorder

  • In-Depth

    What causes menstrual problems?

    There are many things that can cause menstrual problems:

    • Irregular or a lack of menstrual periods could be caused by excessive exercise, stress and/or being underweight.
    • Too few menstrual periods could be caused by a mild hormone imbalance called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
    • Girls with heavy and/or long menstrual periods may be anemic, meaning they have too few red blood cells or too little hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying protein in the red blood cells).

    When should we contact a doctor?

    Menstrual problems are common in teens. Still, early diagnosis can be helpful for treatment. It’s a good idea to contact your daughter’s health care provider for an evaluation if she:

    • has not started to develop breasts by age 13, or started her menstrual period by age 15
    • goes more than 2 months between menstrual periods
  • Tests

    Your daughter’s doctor will take a careful health history, review growth charts from her pediatrician, and conduct a general physical exam. The physician may also order:

    • a pelvic ultrasound
    • blood tests to measure hormone levels from the pituitary gland, thyroid gland and ovaries
  • Your daughter's physician may recommend that you wait to see if the problem will correct on its own.

    If your daughter is experiencing painful menstrual problems (a common problem for teens) heating pads and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may help. If they don't relieve the pain, a healthcare provider may prescribe birth control pills.

    Other treatment options may include monthly progesterone pills or other hormone replacement therapy, depending on the cause of the problem.

    If your daughter is anemic, it's a good idea for her to eat more foods that contain iron (such as lean meats, legumes and vegetables) and take an iron supplement.

  • Research & Innovation

    Children’s Hospital Boston researchers are searching for answers to questions including:

    • What is the best age to initiate treatment for menstrual disorders?
    • What type of treatment is best for polycystic ovary syndrome?
    • How often should teens with polycystic ovary syndrome measure their blood sugar? What are their risks of diabetes?
    • How can we improve information for girls with polycystic ovary syndrome?
    • When should a girl with no menstrual periods have her bone density measured? When is she at risk for low bone density and osteoporosis?
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Doctors Who Treat "Menstrual Reproductive Disorder"

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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