WH&Y authors: Doctor Jennifer Marino

Citation: Li A, Bellis E, Girling J, Jayasinghe Y, Grover S, Marino JL*, Peate M*. (*Joint senior author). 2019. Unmet needs and experiences of adolescent girls with heavy menstrual bleeding and dysmenorrhea: A qualitative study. Journal of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology. 2020;33(3)278-284



Study Objective: To identify and examine the key areas of need and explore the experiences of adolescent girls with heavy menstrual bleeding and/or dysmenorrhea.

Design and Setting: Qualitative interview study using semi-structured interviews. Gynaecology outpatient clinic at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Participants: Adolescent girls (12-18 years; mean age, 14.8 ± 1.5 years) presenting with heavy menstrual bleeding and/or dysmenorrhea at the clinic (N = 30).

Interventions and Main Outcome Measures: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted between May and August 2018. Interview data were thematically analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Themes covered experiences and unmet needs of adolescent girls with heavy menstrual bleeding and/or dysmenorrhea.

Results: A total of 12 themes were identified, and covered the impact of symptoms, experiences, and/or unmet needs of these adolescents. Key themes highlighting experiences and unmet needs related to (1) coordination of healthcare, (2) day-to-day coping, (3) school, and (4) information surrounding menstrual issues. From these themes, 7 unmet needs emerged and were organized under 3 key areas of need: (1) treatment, management, and care, (2) improvements in the school environment, and (3) menstrual health as a gendered issue.

Conclusion: Menstrual concerns can have a profound physical and psychosocial impact on adolescents. Effective school-based menstrual education programs may be key in reducing stigma, fear, and shame surrounding menstruation, in teaching positive management strategies and in encouraging adolescents to seek help for their menstrual concerns.

About The Authors


Dr Jennifer Marino is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at th...