Menstrual Problems in Teens: When to See a Doctor

Menstrual Problems in Teens: When to See a Doctor

Some irregularity is normal for girls when they first get their periods, but it’s also possible for teens to have significant problems with their menstrual cycles. The challenge is knowing the kinds of irregularities to be expected and when it’s time to seek help. 

In San Antonio, Texas, OB/GYN Kelly Morales, MD, and our team are committed to helping adolescent girls and their parents navigate this stressful time. As part of our dedicated adolescent and teen care, we help your daughter understand what’s normal and get an accurate diagnosis when something’s not right. 

To help you and your daughter know if it’s time to schedule a visit, Dr. Morales and our care team put together this helpful post covering some of the period issues teenage girls face and when it’s time to get help. 

What creates problematic periods in teens?

Every woman’s menstrual cycle is a complex balance between hormones in the ovaries, the brain, and the uterus. When girls start to menstruate, their bodies need time to adjust and learn how all the moving pieces of the menstrual cycle work together. 

That’s why your teen may have irregular periods for about two years once their first period arrives. For example, she may have two periods in one month or not get a period for several months. 

Your teen’s body is also highly influenced by changes in her hormones, such as stress hormones. She might notice that during stressful times at school or when your family travels, her period arrives early or is delayed. 

Over time, most teenagers find their menstrual cycle settles and follows a recognizable pattern. If your teen’s cycle remains problematic, an underlying condition could be to blame, including issues such as:

Vaginal or cervical inflammation could also cause menstrual problems. 

When should my teen see a gynecologist?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends teenage girls schedule their first gynecological visit between ages 13-15, even when they don’t have menstrual troubles.

If your daughter has never seen a gynecologist and has been experiencing irregular periods for more than three years or if she doesn’t get a period by age 15, schedule a visit with Dr. Morales. 

You should also schedule an appointment if your daughter experiences any of the following period problems

Generally speaking, it’s better to err on the side of caution and schedule a visit with Dr. Morales. Your daughter won’t need a pelvic exam or Pap test unless medically necessary to rule out certain conditions, and it gives your teen a chance to get to know her doctor and ask any questions she may have. 

What can my daughter expect at her doctor’s visit?

For many teenage girls, even the thought of seeing a gynecologist can cause discomfort or embarrassment. It’s helpful for your daughter to know what she can expect at her visit so she feels confident and comfortable. 

At her appointment with Dr. Morales, your teen can expect to learn about the importance of gynecological care. Dr. Morales’ main goal is to help girls feel comfortable so they can be honest about their reproductive health and receive the best care possible. 

In addition to answering any questions your daughter has about her changing body, sex and sexuality, and other issues relevant to teens, Dr. Morales also gets to the bottom of any menstrual problems your teen is experiencing.

Not every teen with menstrual problems needs a physical exam or Pap test, but if Dr. Morales determines such an exam or test would be helpful, she talks to your teen beforehand to prepare her. 

Dr. Morales may also order additional tests, such as an ultrasound to look for issues like fibroids or ovarian cysts, or blood work to check hormone levels, before making treatment recommendations.

The sooner your teenage daughter gets the help she needs for her menstrual problems, the sooner Dr. Morales can uncover the root cause and begin treatment.  

Don’t wait to get help for your teen’s problematic periods. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Morales by calling our San Antonio, Texas, office today.

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