Evaluation of Irregular Menses in Perimenarcheal Girls: A Pilot Study

Karen J. Browner-Elhanan, Jonathan Epstein, Elizabeth M. Alderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Acyclic vaginal bleeding in girls within three years of menarche is most commonly attributed to an immature hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Assuming this diagnosis may preclude the practitioner from performing more definitive studies and thereby diagnosing other, treatable causes of menstrual irregularities. A retrospective chart review of 178 girls presenting to an inner-city hospitalbased adolescent clinic within three years of menarche was performed. Personal and family medical and menarcheal history was assessed, and findings on physical and laboratory examination performed were evaluated. Of the 178 girls still perimenarcheal at presentation, 47 were the focus of this study. Of these, 39 had no significant findings on physical examination, while 3 had signs of functional ovarian hyperandrogenism (FOH) including obesity, hirsutism, and moderate acne with corresponding LH/FSH ratios > 3, although pelvic ultrasound examination revealed normal ovaries. Four of the 39 patients with normal physical exams had LH/FSH testing done, and 1 of the 4 had an abnormal LH/FSH ratio, indicating possible FOH. Two of the 47 patients were pregnant. Other laboratory abnormalities included microcytic, hypochromic anemia in patients, and an elevated Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate in a patient later diagnosed with a rheumatologic disorder. Those perimenarcheal girls presenting with irregular menses and findings including obesity, acne, or pallor, were likely to have treatable causes of menstrual irregularities. In one of the four girls with a normal physical examination, hormonal testing indicated possible FOH, thus suggesting that hormonal evaluation of perimenarcheal girls with menstrual irregularities may be justified, as it may reveal previously unsuspected pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-368
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Adolescents
  • Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
  • Hyperandrogenism
  • Menstrual irregularities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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