Screening and Management of Bleeding Disorders in Adolescents With Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding is defined as excessive menstrual blood loss that interferes with a woman’s physical, social, emotional, or material quality of life. If obstetrician–gynecologists suspect that a patient has a bleeding disorder, they should work in coordination with a hematologist for laboratory evaluation and medical management. Evaluation of adolescent girls who present with heavy menstrual bleeding should include assessment for anemia from blood loss, including serum ferritin, the presence of an endocrine disorder leading to anovulation, and evaluation for the presence of a bleeding disorder. Physical examination of the patient who presents with acute heavy menstrual bleeding should include assessment of hemodynamic stability, including orthostatic blood pressure and pulse measurements. The first-line approach to acute bleeding in the adolescent is medical management; surgery should be reserved for those who do not respond to medical therapy. Use of antifibrinolytics such as tranexamic acid or aminocaproic acid in oral and intravenous form may be used to stop bleeding. Nonmedical procedures should be considered when there is a lack of response to medical therapy, if the patient is clinically unstable despite initial measures, or when severe heavy bleeding warrants further investigation, such as an examination under anesthesia. After correction of acute heavy menstrual bleeding, maintenance hormonal therapy can include combined hormonal contraceptives, oral and injectable progestins, and levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine devices. Obstetrician–gynecologists can provide important guidance to premenarchal and postmenarchal girls and their families about issues related to menses and should counsel all adolescent patients with a bleeding disorder about safe medication use and future surgical considerations.