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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2011 December;63(6):547-61

language: English

Heavy menstrual bleeding in adolescents: hormonal or hematologic?

Appelbaum H. 1, Acharya S. S. 2

1 Division of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cohen Children’s, Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, NY, USA;
2 Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation, Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, NY, USA


Adolescence in girls is marked by a host of physical and psychological changes including those associated with menstruation. Heavy menstrual bleeding is one of the most commonly encountered medical problems during transition from childhood to adulthood. Although common, it is likely underreported given that the definition is dependent upon personal experience and influenced by their perception of “normal”. Anovulatory cycles related to an immaturity of the hypothalamic pituitary ovarian axis seems to be common, however bleeding disorders such as coagulation factor deficiencies including von Willebrand disease, and quantitative and qualitative abnormalities of platelets must be ruled out. Other medical conditions such as endocrinopathies including diabetes mellitus, Cushing syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, chronic hepatic and renal disease, anatomical uterine anomalies, pregnancy, obesity, medications causing hyperprolactinemia must also be considered. Management is based on the presence of hemodynamic instability and acuity of presentation. Treatment options include the use of combined oral contraceptive pills and antifibrinolytic agents; levonorgesterel impregnated intrauterine devices and or treatment of the specific underling bleeding disorder or endocrinopathy. Ongoing management needs to be accomplished through a multi disciplinary team approach in a comprehensive care setting with an adolescent gynecologist, hematologist, pediatrician, and nutritionist involved in the program for a better outcome of this problem.

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