The start of menstruation (menarche) occurs around age 9-15. In some cultures it is celebrated. For example, special Native American songs honor “Moon Time”. For others it is cloaked in secrecy and negativity, a curse, and the message is to manage it silently and invisibly. However it is seen, menarche is the beginning of a new biological phase in a woman’s life.
In the first two years of menstruation, bleeding patterns are often unpredictable. Eventually a typical bleeding pattern of every 21 to 35 days is established with bleeding lasting 5-7 days. Approximately 3-5 years before complete cessation of menstruation (menopause) the bleeding pattern may become irregular and unpredictable again. The average age of menopause is 50-52.
Whether at menarche, throughout the reproductive time period, or as approaching menopause, abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) can cause difficulty for the individual and decrease her quality of life. A woman or adolescent may miss 6 days per year of work, school or activities due to problems associated with their menstruation. If you experience any of the following problems you should call to set up an appointment for evaluation:
- Heavy menstruation
- Frequent menstruation (<21 days)
- Prolonged menstruation (> 7 days)
- Bleeding in between menses
- Post coital bleeding (bleeding after sexual activity)
- Infrequent bleeding (>90 days)
In an effort to establish a uniform nomenclature of abnormal uterine bleeding, a new classification system known by the acronym PALM-COEIN was introduced by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) in 2011 and adopted by The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in 2012. Using this system, we can evaluate a patient for the most common causes of AUB.
OB/GYN professionals can identify causes of AUB by considering:
- A thorough review of the patient’s history
- Results from an examination
- appropriate laboratory evaluation and imaging tests
- Age-related factors
A spectrum of management options is then made available to you for consideration.
Do you have questions about your menstrual bleeding pattern? Do you need an expert to turn to for advice?
The professionals at Virginia Beach OB/GYN have more than 100 years of combined experience dealing with these important issues! In fact, roughly one third of the visits to a gynecologist’s office in the pre-menopausal aged woman are the result of abnormal menstruation and AUB accounts for 70% of visits in the peri- and postmenopausal woman.
The beginning of menstruation is an important step in becoming a woman. Transitioning into menopause and cessation of menstruation is also an important landmark in a woman’s journey through life. With 2 billion women of menstrual age (15-50), around the world, approximately 300 million women are menstruating on a given day! You are not alone. We are here to help guide and advise you on your own unique journey so you can live your life with dignity and pride as a woman.
Call us today if we can be of help to you – (757) 425-1600.