Menorrhagia (Heavy Periods) and Blood Disorders in Teens and Preteens
The Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Clinic is specifically designed to diagnose and treat menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding) and blood disorders in adolescents and young adults up to age 24.
Teens and preteens — and even parents — are often unaware of what a normal period flow is, or that heavy periods can:
- Be a sign of an inherited bleeding disorder, such as von Willebrand disease
- Lead to other health problems, such as anemia
At Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago Medicine, our specialists help patients and families understand when menstrual bleeding is a serious health concern, providing expert care to effectively manage the underlying condition and its symptoms.
Joint Consultations with Our Pediatric Gynecologist and Pediatric Hematologist
Together, a pediatric/adolescent gynecologist and a pediatric hematologist provide care for young patients who are experiencing heavy periods and other blood disorder symptoms, which may include a combination of:
- Nose bleeds
- Easy bruising
- Bleeding gums
- Continuous bleeding after surgery (such as wisdom teeth removal)
- Iron deficiency and/or anemia
- Blood clots
This tag team-approach allows patients convenient access to two experts in one setting. With both physicians in the exam room at the same time, we determine the best care plan to address the gynecologic and hematologic concerns.
What is considered a heavy period in teens and preteens?
Menorrhagia, a common health concern in adolescent patients, is defined as excessive menstrual bleeding that interferes with physical, social, emotional or material quality of life.
“Heavy” can be subjective, but our specialists consider the following indications to determine whether a patient has a heavy flow:
- The number of days between periods
- The number of days in the menstrual cycle
- How often the patient has to change pads or tampons due to soaking or leaking
However, it is ultimately up to the patient. If your teen or preteen feels like they have a heavy flow, it is worth a conversation with our specialists and we want to help determine the best level of care.
Specialized Treatment for Menorrhagia and Blood Disorders in Teens and Preteens
The treatment plan is different for each patient based on their medical history, diagnosis, symptoms and other important considerations.
Options may include:
- Hormone therapy to regulate the menstrual cycle, including:
- Pills or patches
- Injectable progesterone (Depo-Provera)
- Hormonal implants (intra-uterine devices or etonogestrel implants)
- Iron supplementation (for anemia)
- Intravenous infusion
Anemia, Iron Deficiency and Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
A heavy period can cause an iron deficiency, which in turn can lead to anemia. Anemia is a condition that occurs when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen to the body’s tissue. Your teen or preteen should be evaluated by our specialists if they are experiencing possible signs of an iron deficiency, such as:
- Craving or eating ice, paper or cardboard
Blood Clots, Birth Control and Regular Periods
Managing birth control medication is a key factor in many of our patients’ care plans. Hormonal medications are commonly prescribed to regulate the menstrual cycle and help manage symptoms. Especially if a teen or preteen has a personal or family history of bleeding or clotting disorders, they may need more in-depth advice about which options are recommended given their unique clinical picture.
Meet Our Heavy Menstrual Bleeding and Blood Disorder Specialists
To speak to someone directly, please call 1-773-702-2123. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
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