Menstruation is an important vital sign in evaluating the overall health of girls and teens, requiring clinician knowledge and early, ongoing dialogue with parents and patients, according to a new clinical report.

Menstruation in Adolescents: Using the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign (

) outlines the basics of adolescent menstruation, including what represents normal cycles and bleeding patterns, the potential causes of irregular and missed menses, and the importance of discussing menstruation with patients as early as age 8. The report was co-authored by the Academy and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

“We're encouraging pediatricians to pay better attention to adolescent menstruation and menstrual disorders,” said Margaret J. Blythe, M.D., FAAP, member of the AAP Committee on Adolescence (COA).“We need to go beyond asking: `when was your last period?'”

“We want to dismiss the idea that anything goes...

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