Dont Ignore A Missed Period
If you keep track of your periods, youll probably know right away if something is amiss. Keep a period diary in your calendar or get an app designed for that purpose. Your period records can provide valuable information for you and your doctor.
Doctors want to know details about your previous periods so we can determine if theres an issue, Dr. Higgins says. An occasional late period is often the result of something minor, but if you frequently have late or irregular periods, check with your doctor to rule out other health conditions.
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Whats The Short Answer
Its common not to get a period after stopping the pill, explains Gil Weiss, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Illinois.
The phenomenon is called post-pill amenorrhea, Dr. Weiss continues. The pill suppresses your bodys normal production of hormones that are involved in your menstrual cycle.
He says it can take several months for your body to return to its normal production, and therefore several months for your period to return.
But, in some cases, there is another reason for late or missed periods.
Discover other factors that could be causing your post-pill period problem, and how to get your cycle back on track.
Stress can affect the delicate hormonal balance that controls your menstrual cycle.
Stress induces the hormone cortisol, says Kecia Gaither, MD, who specializes in OB-GYN and maternal fetal medicine.
This, she says, can interfere with the hormonal regulation of menses via the circuit between the brain, ovaries, and uterus.
You may also experience signs of stomach discomfort such as bloating, or mood problems like sadness and irritability.
While small amounts of stress are unlikely to cause changes, long-term or significant stress levels can stop periods.
- urination problems
Your Periods Can Come Closer Together
Because there’s no “normal” when it comes to your menstrual cycle, some individuals might experience more periods during perimenopause, according to the Office on Women’s Health. In some cases, “estrogen and progesterone surges during the menstrual cycle become shorter and higher,” said Dr. Gupta. “That means your periods could come closer together.”
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Why You Don’t Want To Go Too Long Without Your Period
Missing your period for more than a few months could be a sign of something more serious.
“Absent periods due to long-term use of the Depo-Provera injection and Nexplanon implant, both forms of birth control, can lead to bone loss,” says Regina Cardaci, PhD, RN, at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
Although missing your menstrual cycle does not cause ovarian cancer, , MD, a family and emergency doctor, says there may be a link with a history of irregular cycles.
Because of the increased risk of serious health complications, she recommends seeing your doctor if you miss more than two periods. “Early evaluation and diagnosis can possibly lead to better outcomes,” says Nesheiwat.
What You Should Do If You Miss A Period
Unless youre experiencing other symptoms that concern you or you suspect you might be pregnant, theres no need to worry about missing one or two periods. Missing an occasional period now and then is not terribly uncommon, Dr. Stewart said.
If you miss three consecutive periods, you should talk to your primary care physician or OBGYN. Often the source is fairly obvious and a brief discussion with your provider could address the issue, Dr. Stewart said.
Your doctor will start with your medical history and a physical exam. From that information you can work with your doctor to plan next steps, which could be lab tests or imaging studies such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.
Most of the time, you will find a simple solution to get your periods back on track. But its important to seek medical care, since sometimes missed periods could be signs of serious health problems. Thyroid disease, pituitary dysfunction, ovulatory dysfunction, chronic kidney disease or cancer can all be associated with amenorrhea. And those conditions could be linked with problems like osteoporosis, abnormal pregnancy, or cancer of the uterine lining.
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Youve Lost Or Gained Weight
Severe changes in body weight can lead to a condition known as secondary amenorrhea, which means missing your period for three months or more. This is particularly common when your BMI undergoes a rapid change.
Extreme increases or decreases in body fat can lead to a chaotic hormonal imbalance that causes your period to come late or stop entirely.
In addition, severe calorie restriction affects the part of your brain that talks to your endocrine system, giving instructions for the production of reproductive hormones. When this communication channel is disrupted, hormones can get really out of whack.
Youre In Early Menopause
Early menopause, also known as premature ovarian failure, happens when your ovaries stop working before you turn 40.
When your ovaries arent working the way they should, they dont produce enough estrogen. As estrogen levels drop to all-time lows, you will begin to experience the symptoms of menopause.
Late or missed periods may be an early sign. You may also experience hot flashes, night sweats, and trouble sleeping.
Other signs of premature ovarian failure include:
- vaginal dryness
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Your Pms Can Feel Even Worse
All those hormonal ups and downs that start after 40 can affect your mood and emotions before your period begins. “As the hormones fluctuate more dramatically, those women who have mood symptoms with their periods tend to see more fluctuations in those moods,” said Dr. Dunsmoor-Su. “Some women get very depressed as the hormonal fluctuations become more significant.”
If you are becoming significantly depressed, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider “Anti-depressants are very helpful in this kind of depression, and if left untreated, it can become very severe during the menopausal transition,” Dr. Dunsmoor-Su said.
Managing Stress To Avoid Alterations In Health
The absence of a period can appear due to some factors that you can control and others that escape you completely. Sometimes, certain shocking or traumatic events can cause, due to the high emotional load, a period to be delayed by several weeks. Its perfectly normal and, in this kind of situation, your body will gradually regulate itself.
On the other hand, its also common for circumstances such as work pressure or even study to deregulate your hormones and raise your levels of stress and anxiety. In these cases, there are many stress management techniques you can employ. Ideally, you should choose those that best suit your own needs.
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How Many Periods Can Stress Delay
Stress can usually cause you to miss a period for a month or two. However, keep in mind that any irregularity in periods should be mentioned to a gynecologist. Thats because, behind amenorrhea, in addition to pregnancy, stress, or eating problems, could lie endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome .
Causes Of Missed Periods In Teenagers
Causes of amenorrhea in teenage girls include :
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Things That Delay Your Period
A missed period is often the first sign of pregnancy, but there are other reasons for lateness, too. Here are some other factors that can delay your monthly flow:
Extreme diet and exercise
A healthy diet and regular exercise can do wonders for your health. But if you overdo it, you might say bye-bye to your periods, at least temporarily.
Athletes who train really hard or who dont get enough calories may stop menstruating, Dr. Higgins says. Its the bodys way of telling you that it doesnt have enough resources to support a pregnancy.
When your periods stop due to weight loss, diet or exercise, youre experiencing secondary amenorrhea. This means you previously had periods, but they have stopped. Secondary amenorrhea might happen to you if you:
- Eat an extreme, calorie-restricted diet.
- Have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia.
- Lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.
- Undergo hardcore exercise training, such as for a .
Polycystic ovary syndrome
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that interferes with the release of an egg . When you dont ovulate, you usually dont have a period. Many people with PCOS have irregular, late or missing periods. Other symptoms of PCOS include:
- Excess facial or body hair.
- Weight gain or trouble losing weight.
Doctors diagnose PCOS by checking your symptoms and performing medical tests when needed. Medication and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms.
Some examples of major stress include:
What Are Irregular Periods
Even though girls get their periods on a cycle, that cycle can take different amounts of time each month. For example, a girl might get her period after 24 days one month and after 42 days the next. These are called irregular periods.
Irregular periods are very common, especially in a girl’s first few years of getting her period.
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What Causes Amenorrhea
There are several possible causes of amenorrhea, including:
- Pregnancy. When you are pregnant, you dont ovulate so your period stops temporarily.
- Ovulation abnormality. Ovulation abnormalities are usually the cause of very irregular or frequently missed periods.
- Birth defect, anatomical abnormality, or other medical condition. If your period hasnt started by age 16, it may be due to a birth defect, anatomical abnormality, or other medical condition.
- Eating disorder. If you have anorexia and/or bulimia, you may develop amenorrhea. This is because your body weight can get too low to sustain a pregnancy. So to protect the body, the reproductive system shuts down because its severely malnourished.
- Overexercise or strenuous exercise. If you exercise a lot, your periods may stop due to low body fat content.
- Thyroid disorder. If you have an underactive thyroid or an overactive thyroid your periods may stop.
- Obesity. If you are overweight, you may have amenorrhea as a result of excess fat cells getting in the way of the process of ovulation.
What Is The Cause
During the first couple of years of menstruation many teens have irregular periods. During this time your body is still developing and your ovaries may not release an egg every month. As a result, your cycles may be irregular. You may have a period every 2 weeks or once every 3 months. Most girls menstrual cycles become regular as their hormone levels mature. A few women will continue to have irregular periods, which may be normal for them. Other causes of a late or missed period are:
Problems of the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or ovaries are other rare causes of irregular periods.
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Characteristics And Causes Of A Missed Period
The absence of the menstrual period, or amenorrhea, often has its origin in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Research conducted by the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute claims that hypothalamic amenorrhea is caused by psychological stress, excessive exercise, or eating disorders .
Stress is undoubtedly the most recurrent circumstance and the easiest to manage. Thats because, as a rule, any alteration to the menstrual cycle doesnt go beyond a month . Indeed, it tends to regulate itself and doesnt cause any major problems. However, there are certain situations that are linked to depressive disorders.
An investigation conducted by the Medical Center, Orlando claims that theres a significant association between depression and early perimenopause. In other words, women of 40 years of age or younger can sometimes face early menopause as a result of depression. In all cases, having a proper diagnosis is key.
When To See Your Gp
See your GP if you’re not pregnant you’ve had a negative pregnancy test and you’ve missed more than 3 periods in a row.
If you’re sexually active and you have not taken a pregnancy test, your GP may advise you to take one.
They may also ask you about:
- your medical history
- any emotional issues you’re having
- any recent changes in your weight
- the amount of exercise you do
Your GP may recommend waiting to see whether your periods return on their own. In some cases you may need treatment for your periods to return.
You should also see your GP if your periods stop before you’re 45 or if you’re still bleeding when you’re over 55.
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Home Urine Pregnancy Tests
- Home urine pregnancy tests do not cost very much. They are easy to use. Most drugstores sell these tests. No prescription is needed.
- Urine pregnancy tests are very accurate. They can turn positive as early as the first week after a missed period.
- It is best to do the pregnancy test first thing in the morning. Reason: hormone levels are higher in the morning urine.
- Sometimes, a home test is negative even if you think you might be pregnant. In this case, repeat the test. Do the repeat test in 3-5 days. You can also go to a doctor’s office for testing.
- A pregnancy testing fact sheet can be found at www.womenshealth.gov. Search “pregnancy tests.”
You Might Start Breaking Out Before Your Period
Once you hit 40, “it’s like going through puberty again,” said Dr. Gupta, who warns you might start breaking out again, just like in high school. You also begin to get hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause, but these symptoms tend to come and go as hormones fluctuate, said Dr. Dunsmoor-Su.
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Reasons For Missed Periods
There are many reasons why you may have missed your period. Some women miss periods regularly because they dont ovulate regularly. You might also miss a period if you have a change in your sleep patterns, for example, or if you start working night shifts which can throw your cycles out of whack as your body learns to adjust to it.
You can also miss your period if your weight is too low. After a certain amount of body fat, you may not have the hormone production to sustain your periods. This is often true if youre a very competitive athlete or suffer from disordered eating like anorexia or even bulimia.
Sometimes stress can be a reason that your period is missing. This can usually be determined easily by a discussion with your doctor.
How Is Amenorrhea Diagnosed
Diagnosis begins with a medical history and a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam. Your healthcare provider will want to rule out other menstrual disorders, medical conditions, or medicines that may be causing or aggravating the condition. A diagnosis of amenorrhea means that you miss at least 3 periods in a row, without being pregnant. Young women who havent had their first menstrual period by age 15 should be evaluated promptly. Making an early diagnosis and starting treatment as soon as possible is very important.
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Recap: The 4 Reasons Why You May Have Missed Your Period On Birth Control
We talked about 4 solid reasons why you may have missed your period this month, even though youre taking birth control. Here they are again:
The birth control pills themselves may cause you to miss periods
Emotional/physical stress on your body
Gynecological problems like PCOS
Natural causes like pregnancy.
The main message is generally not to worry about being pregnant if youve been taking your pills and have no other concerning symptoms. But if youre concerned, you can always ask your health care provider.
Stopped Or Missed Periods
There are many reasons why a woman may miss her period, or why periods might stop altogether.
Most women have a period every 28 days or so, but it’s common to have a slightly shorter or longer cycle than this .
Some women do not always have a regular menstrual cycle. Their period may be early or late, and how long it lasts and how heavy it is may vary each time.
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Your Flow Might Get Heavier
As your ovaries start their normal pre-menopause wind-down, your period schedule will get a little wonky. “Some months, the egg makes it to release on time, and everything’s fine,” said Dr. Dunsmoor-Su. “Some months, it’s a bit behind, and your period will be late, and some months, it doesn’t make it at all, and you skip a month or two. When you miss ovulation, the lining of the uterus continues to grow so that when you finally bleed, it tends to be heavier.”