Children's Hospital Colorado

Hormone Therapy: When Menstrual Periods Cause Problems

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At Children’s Hospital Colorado, pediatric experts diagnose and treat girls and teens with medical conditions related to menstrual problems. We place a strong emphasis on communicating with children, teens and their families in caring and sensitive ways.

Many girls and teens have problems with their menstrual periods.

Sometimes, periods can:

  • Cause pain or severe cramps, a condition known as dysmenorrhea
  • Cause heavy bleeding, and/or irregular bleeding
  • Interfere with a girl’s normal activities like sports or school
  • Cause another medical condition to get worse before or during the period
  • Be very difficult to manage for certain girls 

Hormonal therapy is a medical option for treating problem periods. 

Hormonal therapy options are usually packaged as “birth control,” but your provider is recommending them to treat a medical condition. Sometimes, hormonal therapy is recommended to treat medical conditions that are regulated by hormonal factors, like acne, excessive hair growth, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Hormone therapy is safe and effective.

The good news is that hormone therapy is a safe and effective option to manage these health concerns. There are many different options, and your provider can help you decide which one is right for your child based on your personal preferences and any other medical conditions. Hormonal therapy is safe for almost all girls and teens to use, even those using other medications. It does not cause weight gain and does not make it harder to get pregnant later on.

Studies indicate that girls/teens who use hormonal therapy for a medical condition are no more likely to engage in sexual activity sooner than those who have never used these medicines.

Treatment options

During your visit to Children’s Colorado, the doctor may recommend hormone therapy for your child. Here are the most important hormonal options for treating menstrual problems.

Treatment choice How to use What to expect after the first 3-6 months
Pill Take 1 pill every day
  • Lighter and regular periods
  • Less cramping and less pain
  • Clearer skin
  • No weight gain
  • Can be used in a certain way to have a period only every 4 months, or to have no periods at all
Vaginal ring Change every month
Skin patch Change every week
Depo-Provera Shot every 3 months
  • Lighter or no periods after 6-9 months of use
  • Less cramping and less pain
  • May cause increased appetite
Progestin IUD Doctor places inside the uterus; IUD works for 5 years
  • Lighter or no periods
  • Less cramping and less pain
  • No weight gain
Implant Doctor places under skin of arm; implant works for 3 years
  • May have no periods or irregular bleeding
  • Less cramping and less pain

Specific conditions we treat

Services we offer

  • Age-appropriate evaluation and treatment for gynecologic conditions
  • Menstrual regulation and suppression
  • STD and pregnancy testing

Contact us

Phone: 720-777-2667 
Fax: 720-777-7870