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Experts Corner

Pediatrics/Children's Health

Painful Periods in Teen Girl
By Barbara Parker, RN, ARNP, CNM

Q. My 14 year old daughter has such painful periods that she is pretty incapacitated one to two days out of most months. She is dead set against being put on the pill to help and terrified of a pelvic exam. Do you have any words of wisdom in helping her to get through her first exam and are there other solutions other than the pill to painful periods?

A. First of all, starting taking 800 mg (that's 4 tablets) of Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) three times daily BEFORE she gets her period--always WITH food, since it can upset her stomach. If her period is predictable, start it at least 48 hours before, and continue it on a regular basis until it's over.

Secondly, call your health care provider, and explain the situation. She may not NEED a pelvic, if she's not sexually active. I wouldn't make her have one. If they insist, you should reassure her this is NOT the worst experience of her life, and be sure your health care provider KNOWS it's her first one. I take LOTS of time with my "first-timers" and show them the speculum, explain what I'm doing, and why, and tell them if anything hurts, they should say STOP, and I WILL stop. I have not had a single young woman who ever left my office saying that it was the worst experience of her life. I don't think a pelvic needs to be horrible, and it certainly doesn't need to be PAINFUL, EVER. If she's terrified, TELL your health care provider. I don't think they will want to make her feel "assaulted". And it may not even be necessary.

I would also tell her there are many reasons to take oral contraceptives--her reason is for HORMONE MANAGEMENT, not birth control. She'll feel MUCH better if she isn't spending 12-24 days/year in pain. That's WAY too much time to give away to pain, when you don't have to.


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