Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Teens > Puberty and Sex > Changes During Puberty > Irregular Menstruation in Teens
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Irregular Menstruation in Teens

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: My 14-year-old daughter got her first menstrual period just after she turned 13. After 6 months of regular periods, they stopped, and she has not had a period for 5 months. There is no chance she is pregnant. Is this normal?

A: While it is common for girls to have irregular periods during the first year they start menstruating, it's not normal to go five months without a period, after having them regularly for many months. The medical term for not having periods is amenorrhea, and when this condition goes beyond about three months, then further evaluation is usually needed.

One of the common reasons for girls to stop having their periods for many months is that they have lost weight. Amenorrhea often occurs when the level of body fat in a girl goes below about 12 to 15 percent. Girls who are athletes -- particularly runners, gymnasts, and dancers -- are more prone to this as they intensify their training. It's also a common consequence in girls who have eating disorders.

There is also the possibility that there's no underlying abnormality, and that within another month your daughter will start to have menstrual cycles again. Various hormonal problems, however, can cause the menstrual cycles to stop in teenagers. Most of these problems are quite treatable, and it makes sense to try to diagnose them early.

Make an appointment for your daughter to see her physician as soon as possible to sort out the reason for her amenorrhea. The hormones that are present during the menstrual cycle are important in helping to increase and maintain bone density in teenage girls. Girls who have prolonged periods of amenorrhea do lose some bone density, and thus have an increased susceptibility to fractures now, as well as a greater susceptibility to osteoporosis and fractures later on in life.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!