Hematology-Adolescent Medicine Clinic

A young person’s life is busy with school, activities and socializing. Your child shouldn’t have to miss out due to a heavy period (formally called menorrhagia) or other bleeding problems.

Our Hematology-Adolescent Medicine Clinic is one of the few programs of its kind in Southern California. We provide care designed with adolescents in mind, including coordinated treatments, education and support. Our services help teens and young adults maintain a full schedule and excellent quality of life.

About the Hematology-Adolescent Medicine Clinic

Your child benefits from the combined expertise of:

  • Pediatric blood disease specialists from our internationally renowned Hematology program, who specialize in treating bleeding and clotting disorders.
  • Adolescent medicine specialists from Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, who specialize in the unique physical, emotional and social needs of young people.

Adolescent Heavy Menstrual Bleeding and Blood Disease Care: Why Choose Us

The Clinic offers access to multiple specialists in one place—often in one visit. Hematology providers and adolescent medicine specialists typically see patients together, enabling real-time communication and efficient coordination of care. The care team also includes physical therapists, social workers, psychologists and dietitians.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Comprehensive evaluations: We are meticulous in pinpointing the cause of your child’s symptoms. One of the first steps includes learning about personal and family medical history. Care may also include sophisticated tests to evaluate for the possibility of a bleeding disorder.
  • Personalized treatments: For heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), hormonal therapy (including some contraceptive medications) is a common recommendation. Working closely with the patient and their caregivers, we carefully recommend the option and dose that’s best for the patient’s age and medical needs. We also provide targeted medical treatment if patients are diagnosed with a bleeding disorder.
  • Developmentally appropriate care: Helping teens learn to speak with health care providers plays an important part in supporting their growing independence. Our providers typically spend part of the visit alone with your teen to give them a chance to work on these skills. We will always make sure that parents’ concerns are heard as well, and will develop a treatment plan together with both the patient and their caregivers.
  • Support: We address the physical and psychological challenges that come with heavy periods and the bleeding disorders that may cause them. Support services help your child address worries that may be holding them back. Our social worker and psychologist work with your child to push past these issues to help them resume daily activities.
  • Patient- and family-centered services: Discussing heavy menstrual bleeding can be uncomfortable for families. Our compassionate approach makes it easier to share what’s on your mind. We also ask about your family’s beliefs and concerns, enabling us to deliver services that are consistent with your values.

What Are Heavy Menstrual Periods?

Living with heavy menstrual bleeding can include:

  • Needing to change sanitary pads or tampons more often than every two hours
  • Leaking onto clothing or bedding
  • Passing clots (or lumps) of blood
  • Experiencing gushes of blood when standing up, moving or sneezing
  • Missing school or work due to the level of bleeding
  • Developing anemia, or low hemoglobin, due to excessive blood loss

Read more: Big Relief in a Small Pack

Who Is the Clinic For?

The Clinic is for preteens, teenagers and young adults with one or more issues, such as:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding that has led to hospitalization, ER visits, need for iron supplementation or blood transfusions or poor quality of life
  • A known bleeding disorder or family history of bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand disease or platelet disorders
  • Heavy menstrual periods due to anticoagulation

Treatments and Support for Adolescents With Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Many teens eventually outgrow heavy periods. Until that time, specialized services, such as the ones available at CHLA, lessen the impact on a person’s life. Our health care providers take time to answer questions, so you feel comfortable with your child’s care plan.  

Our services include:

  • Antifibrinolytic medications: For bleeding disorders, we may recommend taking these medications during menstruation. Antifibrinolytics reduce bleeding by promoting the body’s natural clotting ability.
  • Care for bleeding disorder complications: The most common complication of heavy periods is anemia, or low red blood cell levels, which can cause weakness and tiredness. Iron supplements prevent or treat anemia and we offer intravenous iron supplements as needed for those who cannot tolerate oral iron.
  • Hormonal medications: Hormonal medications, including some contraceptives, relieve heavy periods by regulating the menstrual cycle. Many options are available, including pills, patches, injections, implants and IUDs. We can almost always find a method that is safe and well-tolerated for your child.
  • Nutrition counseling: If your child has anemia, treatment may include eating specific foods that boost levels of iron and other minerals. Nutrition counseling is also available for young adults at risk for anemia.
  • Physical therapy: Young adults with heavy periods sometimes have collagen disorders that can lead to abnormal bleeding and easy bruising. Physical therapists perform specialized assessments to determine if your child needs treatment for a collagen disorder.

Hematology Care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

At Children’s Hospital, your child has access to innovative treatments and leading-edge care for blood diseases. Learn more about our Hematology programs and services.

Contact us

The Cancer and Blood Disease Institute welcomes new patients, referrals and second opinions. Please call us to make an appointment.