Benign vaginal bleeding in 24 prepubertal patients: clinical, biochemical and imaging features

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Sep;27(9-10):821-5. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2013-0415.


Objective: Premature menarche is an uncommon, benign condition characterized by isolated or recurrent menstrual bleeding in the absence of secondary sexual characteristics.

Methods: We performed an observational retrospective study to further characterize the clinical, biochemical and imaging features of benign prepubertal vaginal bleeding (BPVB). Out of 1037 girls evaluated for precocious puberty over a 5-year period, 24 girls with BPVB were identified based on ≥1 episodes of vaginal bleeding, Tanner I or non-progressive Tanner II breast development, and lack of physical findings suggesting genital infection, trauma or foreign body.

Results: Age at presentation ranged from 3 years 2 months to 9 years 11 months. Ten patients (42%) had one episode of vaginal bleeding, six (25%) had two episodes and eight patients (33%) had three or more. First bleeding episode lasted 3 days (range; 1-30 days). Six girls had intermittent spotting for up to 1 year. No breast development was noted in 19 (79%) patients. Minimal breast was present in five girls; early pubic hair was present in 2. LH and FSH were prepubertal; estradiol was >20 pg/mL in two girls. Pelvic ultrasound, performed in 11 patients, showed pre-pubertal uterus and ovaries without adnexal masses.

Conclusion: Isolated prepubertal vaginal bleeding is typically benign and self-limited, in the absence of sexual precocity signs or other vaginal pathology. Laboratory and imaging studies are generally unrevealing.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menarche / physiology*
  • Puberty, Precocious / diagnosis*
  • Puberty, Precocious / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Wrist / diagnostic imaging