Heavy Periods in Teenagers
One in 20 women experiences heavier than normal periods, according to the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care website 2. Periods typically start in the preteen or teenage years while your daughter is going through puberty, which can make a heavy period especially difficult to deal with during the adjustment time.
One or two days of heavier-than-average menstrual flow is normal during a period. However, child development experts at the Kids Health website advise that periods that last for longer than seven days might be considered to be menorrhagia, the medical term for heavy periods. Your teenager’s periods also might be heavier than normal if she soaks a pad or tampon once an hour for several hours in a row.
A heavy period can simply be caused by an imbalance in hormones that results in the lining of the uterus building up excessively, which is shed in the form of a heavy period each month. According to Kids Health professionals, these types of hormonal imbalance are common during puberty in teenagers. A heavy period can also be caused by an infection or thyroid condition. Abnormal tissue growths called polyps or benign tumors called fibroids can also be to blame.
The Mayo Clinic website recommends consulting a doctor if your teen is using more than one pad or tampon every one to two hours, missing school due to heavy periods or has cramps that aren’t helped by medicine. The doctor might do a pelvic exam or blood tests to try and determine the cause of the heavy bleeding. Heavy periods might be treated with hormonal pills or a procedure to remove extra tissue in the uterus causing the bleeding. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care website indicates that surgery to remove polyps or fibroids is also a possibility 2.
Since heavy period flow can be embarrassing, encourage your teen to wear dark colored pants while on her period and to always keep pad or tampon supplies close by. She can also place a towel under her while she sleeps in order to protect her sheet and mattress at night. Finally, since cramping can often be worse with a heavy period, offer her a heating pad and whatever over-the-counter pain medication that her doctor recommends.
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