Satisfaction With Hormonal Treatment for Menstrual Suppression in Adolescents and Young Women With Disabilities

J Adolesc Health. 2021 Sep;69(3):482-488. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.01.031. Epub 2021 Mar 10.


Purpose: To characterize the population of adolescents and young women with special needs presenting for gynecologic care, describe usage patterns of hormonal suppression methods, and evaluate outcomes of menstrual management.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study included females with special needs up to age 26 years presenting for menstrual management from 2009 to 2018. Demographic, social, and medical histories were collected to investigate effects on bleeding pattern and satisfaction with menstrual management.

Results: Of 262 patients who presented for menstrual complaints, final methods of treatment included combined hormonal contraceptives (30.9%), oral progestins (19.8%), depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (8.0%), etonogestrel implant (1.9%), and levonorgestrel intrauterine device (16.8%). Eighty-five percent of patients were satisfied with their final bleeding pattern. Patients with amenorrhea or light regular periods were more likely to be satisfied than patients with heavy or irregular bleeding (p < .001). Satisfied patients tried an average of 1.4 methods, compared to 1.8 methods tried by the unsatisfied group (p = .042). By the end of the study, 26.0% were amenorrheic and 12.8% had only light spotting. Satisfaction rates were similar with each method, including 88.4% with use of combined hormonal contraceptives, 82.5% with oral progestins, 93.3% with depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, 100% with etonogestrel implant, and 83.9% with levonorgestrel intrauterine device.

Conclusions: Amenorrhea or light regular bleeding led to satisfaction in most patients. No hormonal method was superior. When counseling families and patients who present for menstrual suppression, emphasis should be placed on goals of treatment and expectations for outcomes, as light regular periods may be as acceptable as amenorrhea.

Keywords: Adolescent gynecology; Cognitive disability; Developmental delay; Menstrual management; Menstrual suppression.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Menstruation
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Levonorgestrel