Menstruation: What can we do?

My daughter, who is 12, had her first menstrual cycle just before she turned 11. On the second day of bleeding, she bled really heavily and was clotting. Two days later, when she was still bleeding, she had a blood test which showed that she was anaemic. She had to have a blood transfusion, and was put on the Pill in an attempt to control the bleeding. She took the Pill continuously for nine months, and she did not have any periods at all. When she stopped the Pill, she had three normal periods and everything seemed to be fine. But she has now started bleeding heavily again. What can we do?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Heavy menstrual bleeding in young girls is not common, but it does happen. Sometimes the bleeding problem solves itself fairly quickly. But quite a few young women have an abnormality in the body's blood-clotting mechanism. Your daughter's bleeding could be very heavy because there is something wrong with her ability to produce blood clots. A condition called Von Willebrand's disease is an inherited condition that is carried by about 1 in 100 women. Women with Von Willebrand's disease may have very heavy periods. There are tests that can pick up conditions that may cause heavy bleeding. Ask to be referred to a haematologist.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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