Puberty and Menstruation


In children, failing to meet height, weight, and puberty milestones can be concerning. For girls who are diagnosed before or during the early stages of puberty, IBD may affect their development. It is important to monitor nutritional status and growth during this time to determine if their diagnosis is affecting puberty. Early diagnosis and appropriate management of disease are key to promoting optimal pubertal development and growth.


Several factors can affect puberty, including:

Nutritional status

It is important to include enough calories and nutrients in your diet to allow your body to grow. If you believe you or your loved one is experiencing malnutrition, talk to your healthcare team about ways to help maintain a well-balanced diet.

Intestinal inflammation

Inflammation can prevent your body from adequately absorbing nutrients, contributing to malnutrition (mentioned above). Menstrual cycles also sometimes mimic IBD symptoms. Ongoing or active inflammation may additionally affect the severity of symptoms.


When people experience increased and prolonged stress, it can have a negative impact on the body’s natural hormone balance, therefore effecting a person’s overall growth.

Decreased growth hormone

Inflammation can cause decreased hormonal function. When this happens, growth hormones can be affected.




In patients with IBD, many factors may contribute to irregular menstrual periods, including hormone levels, nutrition status, and stress. When a woman’s IBD is active, the inflammation itself can cause the body to alter normal hormone function. Treating inflammation and malnutrition is the way to restore regular periods.

IBD symptoms may seem worse the week before or the week of a woman’s period. This is a common pattern for many diseases. Research suggests that fluctuating hormones and hormone-like substances during the menstrual cycle may affect IBD symptoms. If you are taking medication for your IBD, consult your doctor before introducing over-the-counter pain management medications for menstruation.


If IBD is inactive and menstrual periods are regular, menopause is likely to occur naturally. If a patient experiences prolonged disease without proper treatment, menopause could be delayed or have an early onset.