START TYPING AND PRESS ENTER TO SEARCH

My daughter is 16 years old and her periods are very irregular. Is this normal?

In a normal menstrual cycle there is regular hormone production and thickening of the lining of the uterus. This cycle primes the endometrium (uterine lining) for implantation of a developing embryo. If no implantation occurs, the lining sheds, resulting in a menstrual period. There are two phases in the menstrual cycle: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. The follicular phase occurs prior to ovulation and involves thickening of the lining of the uterus. This phase usually lasts 10 to 14 days. The luteal phase is the period of time from ovulation to the onset of menses when the lining of the uterus undergoes stabilization prior to menses. This phase usually lasts 14 days.

During the first 2 years after the onset of menstruation, cycles are often irregular. These early cycles are often anovulatory-there is no ovulation during the menstrual cycle and therefore the luteal phase does not occur properly. Because of this a woman will experience irregular bleeding. As long as the menstrual cycles are no longer than 35 days, no shorter than 21 days, and the duration of bleeding is no longer than 7 days, this is considered normal in a woman who has recently started menstruating.

If irregular bleeding lasts longer than 2 years or the blood flow is excessive, your physician may suggest further evaluation.

Are there risks or benefits to douching?

Despite all the advertising by manufacturers of feminine hygiene products, there are no practical reasons for women to douche on a regular basis.

I have a lot of bloating that begins about a week before my period starts. What causes this?

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a disorder experienced by many women. This syndrome has many associated symptoms. One of these symptoms is bloating. This often begins approximately 1 to 2 weeks prior to menses and is characterized by bloating and weight gain. Often women notice a significant reduction in their weight immediately after menses.

Initial treatment for PMS is lifestyle changes such as exercise and changing your diet to decrease salt, caffeine, and chocolate intake. If you have a significant amount of bloating prior to your menses and it is affecting your daily life. You may consult your physician. Although no good studies support their use, many women report improvement in symptoms with the use of birth control pills.

What is the thick substance that I get a couple of days into my period?

What you are describing is a normal pattern of menstruation and a normal menstrual period. A normal menstrual period last about 5 to 7 days, the bleeding is heaviest during the first couple of days and then slows for the remaining 3 or 4 days. As your bleeding slows, the blood clots. This could be what you are seeing. Another possibility is that you are seeing a portion of the uterine lining (endometrium) which is the tissue that is shed during menstruation. In short, you should be reassured that your period is normal.

At what age should a girl start going to a gynecologist as opposed to her pediatrician?

Females should have their first gynecological exam by the age of 25, or when they become sexually active. At this point they should begin having yearly pap smears and pelvic exams. Many pediatricians are comfortable taking care of their patients’ gynecological problems. If this is the case, your pediatrician may continue to see you for your gynecological exams. If you or your pediatrician feel that it would be more comfortable for you to see a gynecologist, you may be given a referral to one. Should your gynecological issues become more difficult, seeing a gynecologist may be to your benefit.

At what age should my periods start?

Periods are also known as menstrual cycles. The onset of menstrual cycles (menarche) occurs during the teenage years. Menstruation continues until a women is in her 50s and reaches menopause. The average age of menarche in the United States is 9 to 17 years of age, with a median age of 13.

Primary amenorrhea is a condition where a woman fails to start her menstrual cycles. If you have other signs of puberty, such as breast development or pubic hair, but fail to start your menses by the age of 16, you should see a physician. If you have no signs of puberty by age 14, you should see a physician.

Can a woman have a baby at age 49 and everything be okay?

Over the last twenty years the number of women waiting until their 40s to conceive has nearly doubled. One of the main determinates of having a healthy pregnancy is being healthy as you enter pregnancy. However, no matter how healthy you are, there are still risks beyond your control. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes are more common when a woman reaches her 40s. Also, the number of chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome, increases as your age increases. For example, the risk of Down syndrome at age 25 is one in 250.

At age 35 is the risk is about one in 300. At age 45 the risk is one in 30, and at age 49 the risk is one in 11. Your total risk for chromosome abnormalities is a bit higher too. At age 35 it is one in 200, while at age 45 the risk increases to one in 21, and to 1 in 8 at age 49. Women in their 30s and 40s have an increased risk of miscarriage. This is most likely due to the increase in chromosomal disorders. In addition, it appears that older women also have an increased risk of requiring a cesarean section.