Women can experience some difficult menstrual cycle issues in their teens but are often told these things will “resolve” or are offered only hormonal suppression, during a time when their hormones are vitally important!
Hormones in puberty are critical to the final development of female reproductive organs like the cervix. Suppressing or hindering this development leaves these women more vulnerable to disease and infection the rest of their lives. Plus, teens should not have to suffer from menstrual cycle issues simply because they are young.
If you or a teen you know experience any of these issues, there is help!
1. Painful periods
While painful periods seem common, they are not normal. Sometimes parents, teachers, etc. wonder if a teen is being overly dramatic or exaggerating her pain, but severe cramps should be taken seriously. They can be a sign of an underlying condition which, when treated, can be resolved.
Period pain can be debilitating and can prevent teens from listening in class or participating in extracurriculars. However, when you get to the root cause of the issue and address it, she is free to flourish - all while allowing her hormones to continue to develop naturally.
2. Absence of a period
It is normal for cycles to be irregular for up to 2 years after menarche (a woman’s first period). However, if it’s been longer than 2 years and her cycles still aren’t regular, there’s likely an underlying culprit.
Irregular cycles, or amenorrhea (absence of a period), can be caused by a variety of issues like hormone deficiency caused by thyroid issues, insufficient body composition from over exercising or undereating, etc. Addressing these issues by working with a restorative health focused medical team will not only “regulate” menstrual cycles but improve overall health!
Unlike what all TV shows may lead you to believe, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is not normal, even for teens with a lot of newfound hormones. PMS symptoms include breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue, bloating, insomnia, increased irritability, crying easily, cravings, or being more likely to feel depressed. PMS can even develop into more extreme depression and/or anxiety, which is known as PMDD (pre-menstrual depressive disorder).
PMS or PMDD are usually the body’s sign that there is a hormone deficiency. Once this deficiency is addressed, the problem can be resolved, and the teen gets the benefit of having balanced, healthy hormones - which affect her overall health, too!
4. Very heavy periods
Many adults assume that since a teen’s periods may be new to her, very heavy bleeding may be normal. But very heavy bleeding is, once again, a sign of an underlying condition. It could be caused by a platelet disorder, von Willebrand disease, being a hemophilia carrier, etc.
Even if the teen’s mother or female relatives also experience very heavy cycles, it could just mean that this issue is shared by other family members.
But not in the way you think!
Many teens are concerned when they begin noticing vaginal discharge or cervical mucus. Without understanding what this is and why the body creates it, they can think that there is something wrong (like having a yeast infection) or that their body is gross or not working correctly. Instead of ignoring this discharge and suggesting that it’s bad in some way, we should encourage teens to begin to learn about their reproductive system’s signs of health and wellness, which includes cervical mucus and vaginal discharge!
Unlike a yeast infection, which is accompanied by itching, burning, or irritation, vaginal discharge and cervical mucus have no side effects but simply produce an observable fluid. This fluid reveals incredible information about where a woman is in her reproductive cycle (cervical mucus) and how her body is staying healthy and balanced (vaginal discharge)!
RHM offers TeenFEMM classes to introduce these concepts and much more: what’s normal and what’s not, what your body is doing each month, how to adjust to the expected hormone changes, and more.
If you or your teen identify with one or more of these issues that shouldn’t be ignored, we invite you to call our office to discuss scheduling an in-person or telehealth appointment with one of our restorative health medical providers. Interested in joining our TeenFEMM education class? We offer an online class monthly! You can register at rhmgyn.com/whtcontact