Background and Aims Adolescents form a group at risk of iron deficiency development. An additional factor leading to depletion of iron stores in adolescent girls is blood loss during menstrual bleeding.
Methods A cross-sectional nonrandomized descriptive study was carried out in order to evaluate the incidence of dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) in adolescent girls and detect the relationship between menstrual blood loss and anemia, in order to develop measures to improve the health status of adolescents. The study was carried out within the routine health examination of schoolchildren in Vologda. A total of 1340 girls aged 10–18 years (mean age 13.81±0.04 years) were selected at random. The menstrual function was studied in 883 girls aged 11–18 years (mean age 14.5±0.04 years) by the data of questionnaires and results of gynecological examinations.
Results The prevalence of anemia (Hb less than 120 g/l) in all examined girls of Vologda was 10.7% (n=143), in adolescent girls with menses - 10.5% (n=93). The age of menarche varied from 10 to 16 years (mean age 12.57±0.03 years). DUB were detected in 54 (6.2%) girls. Anemia was detected in 11 (20.4%) girls with DUB. Of the menstrual characteristics excessively heavy menstrual bleeding was the only risk factor for anemia (OR=0.43, 95% CI=0.22–0.87, p=0.0348).
Conclusions Menstrual iron loss is the main risk factor for iron deficiency development, and hence, in order to detect the causes of anemia in females of reproductive age the complete anamnesis on the pattern of menstruation should be collected.