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Ask An Expert: My Daughter Bleeds Slightly In Between Her Periods. Is This Normal?

Ask An Expert: My Daughter Bleeds Slightly In Between Her Periods. Is This Normal?

Our team of seasoned experts answer all your questions on pregnancy, delivery, children and women’s health, sexuality education and more.

Q: My 17-year-old daughter has a regular 28 day circle but bleeds slightly in between periods. What could be the cause(s) of this and what is the way out?

Dr. Alex Kaoranu Molukwu (OB/GYN) says:

Your question reveals that you and your daughter are very close and this is commendable.

Generally, menarche (first menstruation) usually occurs between 11 and 14 years of age. However, there are variations usually influenced by race, class and environmental characteristics often related to weight or body mass index.

Menstrual irregularity in adolescence may relate to pubertal development which corresponds to a chronological age of 18 to 20 years. Usually the first menstrual cycles are irregular in adolescence. This relates to the fact that during the first years of gynaecological age, 50% of cycles are anovulatory. With advancing age, the proportion of ovulatory cycles increases.

However, it should be noted that in some adolescents, it may take 8 to 12 years for all cycles to be ovulatory, particularly those who had their menarche at a younger age.

Adolescent menstrual disorder requires a detailed medical history, analysis that includes the sequence, age of onset and progression of pubertal development, and the onset of sexual activity. Family history deserves special attention because it may provide clues to some underlying irregularities.

I strongly advise you to see your gynaecologist for appropriate clinical examinations, laboratory tests, to determine the specific cause(s) of the problem.

It may be wise to give your daughter 2-3 years more to attain full normal menstrual characteristics. Please cool down, your daughter is perfectly normal. In fact, she may be having ovulation bleed after all.

Q: My 16-year-old son came down with what turned out to be an STD about a year ago. I guess I was too shocked to really talk to him then but I regret it. Now, he has impregnated our neighbour’s 13- year-old daughter. I think I’m just a bad mother. I feel so ashamed. What do I do? Can I still make up for my past mistakes?

Ololade Hector-Fowobaje, Child Sexual Abuse / Sexuality Education Expert, says:

A lot has happened in your son’s life and I’m afraid you can only help him now by attempting some damage control; a 16-year-old is almost a finished product! Do still go ahead and express your beliefs and values regarding sex to him; conduct a comprehensive sexuality education which must include STDs and contraception. As much as we encourage abstinence, we don’t want them ignorant of the facts of their sexuality. Educating him doesn’t mean you are endorsing it. This is a sexually active 16-year-old!

Plus, YOU WOULDN’T LET YOUR CHILDEN RUN THEIR BICYCLE OUT INTO A BUSY INTERSECTION, SO, WHY WOULD YOU SEND THEM OUT INTO THE WORLD WITHOUT ADDRESSING SEX? You have been rather careless with him, but you can still reach out to him and help evaluate his ‘life’ and work on his perspectives.

Let him know there’s more to life than girls and sex. Expose him also to adult males who can mentor him; without brow-beating or judging him. Get him books to inspire him and shape the habits and attitudes he’s formed already. I recommend biographies of successful men and also ‘seven habits of highly effective teens’ authored by Sean Covey. He should summarize the books to you to ensure he reads them. It would help him realize what’s important.

Also, talk of your hopes and dreams of his future. Tell him that his life is like a coin and he can only spend it once, so, he should be mindful of what he does as there are consequences for our choices; his STD and getting a girl pregnant brings to bear.

Encourage him to talk without flipping at any negative confession he makes. Who knows what he experienced as a child you many know nothing about, but please don’t put words in his mouth; let him purge his experiences and emotions. Sure he is remorseful now and will open up readily. Do ask about the STD incidence; you need to know the details of that. Insist please.

Sure you have scolded him for getting a girl pregnant; that’s in order, but now is the time to help him turn a new leaf while facing the consequences of his actions; becoming a father and playing the role of one. If non-existent, establish rules and reasonable boundaries.

The new you should be approachable and refuse to ignore or sweep away problems and potential problems you notice in your kids. Spending quality time with them too can’t be over-emphasized.

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