Adolescent girls suffer from various gynaecological problems which should never be over looked. For young girls experiencing gynecological issues adolescence can be a very scary time. Adolescents girls are very shy and often hesitate to disclose their problems.
Menstrual disorders– These are the commonest gynecological problem (75%) in adolescent girls. These range from absence of menses to heavy or prolonged bleeding. Girls typically start menstruating between the age of 11 to 14 and it is completely normal to have somewhat abnormal periods during the first two years of menstruation. If your daughter is younger than 11 and is experiencing vaginal or uterine bleeding, or is over the age of 15 and hasn’t started menstruating yet, you should consult a gynaecologist.
Dysmenorrhea– Painful periods has a prevalence rate among adolescents ranging from 40-90 percent and is the most common cause of absenteeism from school and work in adolescents. Severe menstrual cramps or heavy menstrual bleeding that causes a teen to miss school or change her lifestyle is not normal
Secondary amennorhoea– A lot of patients suffer from secondary amenorrhea (absence of menses for 4-5 months) or oligomenorrhea which are ultimately diagnosed to be cases of polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD). Associated problems like obesity and hirsutism (excessive hair growth) may be present along with PCOD. Early detection and appropriate treatment will ensure the best possible outcomes in terms of sexual function and potential fertility.
Vaginal discharge-Another common gynaecological complaint, even in girls as young as 10 or 11, is vaginal discharge. The most notable symptoms are itchiness in the vaginal area, a white “curdy” or thick discharge, soreness, a burning sensation during urination and Most of the girls respond to counselling and maintenance of hygiene.
Ovarian cysts – They are commonly seen in this age group. Most of them require observation or get resolved with medicines only. However, if the cyst is very large in size or has some solid component then it may require surgery
Endometriosis –It highlights the presence of uterine glands outside the uterus. It is seen in adolescents with persistent dysmenorrhoea who do not respond to oral drug therapy. Medical treatment and complementary therapies are often required in the management of disease.
HPV infections–They are the most common sexually transmitted infections in young girls. The greatest risk factors for infection are young age and sexual activity. The majority of HPV infections are transient and asymptomatic. A smaller percentage of adolescents will have persistent infections and require further treatment.
Thus, adolescent girls should have their first gynaecological visit between the ages of 13-15 years of age to set the stage for optimal reproductive health in the years ahead. This will be the beginning of a lifetime of care.