Adolescent Menstrual and Hematologic Disorders Program
At the Adolescent Menstrual and Hematologic Disorders Program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, our team of specialists provides comprehensive care to those who have experienced heavy bleeding and anemia with menstruation. Each patient and their family are at the center of all we do.
How Bleeding Disorders, Menstruation, and Anemia Are Linked
For those who have mild congenital bleeding disorders, the beginning of menstruation may provide the first evidence. On average, menstruation begins around age 12, though the normal range is 10 to 15 years old.
Studies show that as many as 30 percent of adolescents who are diagnosed with anemia associated with heavy menstrual flow might have a congenital bleeding disorder.
Anemia is a condition caused by a shortage of red blood cells. The hemoglobin in red blood cells plays the vital role of transporting oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues.
Iron is a prime component of hemoglobin. A deficiency of iron means the body cannot produce enough red blood cells. A person who is anemic will be pale and tired, and may experience shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat.
In patients with known bleeding disorder diagnoses, anemia is less common because bleeding events are prevented or treated. But for those who are having cycle after cycle of heavy bleeding during menstruation, and whose underlying bleeding disorder is undiagnosed, the iron deficiency may become significant.
If anemia goes unmanaged for too long, a patient may require a blood transfusion. Most often, however, iron can be supplemented in oral form or by intravenous therapy.
At the Adolescent Menstrual and Hematologic Disorders Program, we thoroughly assess each patient to learn if a blood disorder is at the root of heavy bleeding during menstruation. This allows the team to best manage the condition and its impact on the patient’s quality of life.
Treatment for Thrombotic Disorders
Additionally, we offer services for patients with a history of thrombosis (clot formation) or inherited thrombotic disorders. Individuals with these conditions often are advised not to take estrogens to control menstrual cycles. We discuss these risks with patients who have clotting disorders and make recommendations for the safest methods to manage periods.
Our Team of Caregivers
Our team, which includes physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, phlebotomists, pharmacists, and administrative staff, works collaboratively to give your adolescent the treatment they need as well as superb follow-up care.
We are members of the Foundation for Women and Girls with Blood Disorders. In addition, we are a Women and Girls Bleeding Disorder Clinic of Excellence and a part of their Learning Action Network.
We work closely with our colleagues in the division of adolescent medicine at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where evaluation of and treatment for menstrual irregularity or heavy, painful periods is among the services they provide.