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.
When To Talk To Your Doctor
You will need an additional evaluation if you have missed more than three periods in a row and you are not pregnant.
You should speak with your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty with balance
- Excessive growth of body hair
- Producing breast milk without having given birth
- Being older than 15 without having had a period
Irregular Periods Can Be Caused By Non
Lynn points out that irregular menstrual cycles can also be caused by:
- Perimenopause As you enter the transition to menopause, which can last as long as 10 years, your menstrual cycles will become erratic as part of the process. If you skip more than two periods, you are probably in late perimenopause. Its been estimated that 70 percent of women experience menstrual irregularities in the approach to menopause.
- Stress and anxiety Chronic stress or even short-term anxiety about a specific problem can wreak havoc with your hormone balance, causing a missed period and irregular cycle.
- Extreme exercise Exercising too much can throw off the timing of menstrual bleeding and sometimes stop it.
- Eating disorders, extreme dieting, or weight loss Being underweight, whether from extreme exercise, dieting, an eating disorder, or illness, can have the same effect.
- Age As mentioned, perimenopause and menopause have a major effect. But being young can create irregularities as well. Once menstruation begins in young women, it can take several years before it falls into a pattern, says Lynn.
- Birth control And not just birth control pills IUDs, implants, and rings can also cause irregular bleeding.
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Why Am I Not Getting My Period At All
The medical term for absent periods is amenorrhea, and is considered to occur when a woman who has previously had normal periods stops menstruating for six months or more. Many of the causes of amenorrhea are the same as those for a skipped period. Your period can be absent for a number of reasons:
The most common reason to not get your period is because you are pregnant. A home pregnancy test can quickly tell you if that is the reason.
Most women stop getting their periods in their late 40s or early 50s. The average age is 51 years old.
If you breastfeed frequently, including at night-time, you may not get a period for many months. Be aware that you will ovulate prior to getting your period back, so birth control is important if you are not ready to be pregnant again.
While a sudden stressful life event can result in a single missed period, ongoing, high level stress and anxiety can cause your period to stop altogether. Managing stress though self-care, counselling, changing your life circumstances, medication, or other strategies can help you return to having normal periods.
Ongoing, dramatic weight loss, from low intake, excessive exercise, gastric bypass surgery, or eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia can stop your period. This happens because the hormones required for ovulation are not produced.
High levels of prolactin
Premature ovarian failure
Irregular Periods May Occur After Miscarriage Pregnancy Loss
Also referred to as a spontaneous abortion, a miscarriage happens when an embryo or fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. After 20 weeks, pregnancy loss is considered a stillbirth. After these events, it can take a couple of months before you will start having regular periods again, says Lynn.
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What Are Regular Periods
Most girls get their first period between the ages of 10 and 15, but some get it earlier and some later. The first period is known as menarche .
A girl’s monthly cycle is the number of days from the start of her period to the start of the next time she gets her period. You often hear this is a 28-day cycle. But 28 is just an average figure that doctors use. Cycle lengths vary some are 24 days, some are 34 days. And a girl may notice that her cycles are different lengths each month especially for the few years after she first starts getting her period.
Early in a girl’s cycle, her ovaries start preparing one egg. At the same time, the lining of the uterus becomes thick to prepare a nesting place for a fertilized egg in the event that the girl becomes pregnant.
About 2 weeks before a girl gets her period, the egg is released from the ovary . The egg travels through the fallopian tube into the uterus. If the egg isn’t fertilized by sperm, it starts to fall apart. Then the lining and egg leave a girl’s body as her period and the whole thing starts all over again that’s why we use the word “cycle.” The first day a girl’s period comes is Day 1 of her cycle.
It’s also normal for the number of days a girl has her period to vary. Sometimes a girl may bleed for 2 days, sometimes it may last a week. That’s because the level of hormones the body makes can be different from one cycle to the next, and this affects the amount and length of bleeding.
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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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.
How Late Can A Period Be Without Being Pregnant
Some people have their period every 28 days like clockwork. But most people will experience a late or missed period at least once without being pregnant, and thats perfectly normal.
For many, a late period can trigger thoughts of potential pregnancy. But a late period doesnt necessarily mean that youre pregnant.
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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.
Can You Get Pregnant With An Irregular Period
Absolutely yes, says Lynn. Sometimes you can ovulate with irregular cycles, sometimes you dont ovulate with irregular cycles. If you’re not ovulating, you’re not going to get pregnant, but if you are ovulating with irregular cycles, you can. You can have bleeding without ovulating but it’s a real period only if you ovulate. You should use contraception if not desiring pregnancy and to protect against STDs.
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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.
How To Keep Your Menstrual Cycle On Track
If you miss your period while on the pill and you havent missed any doses, pregnancy isnt likely. Instead, the hormones in the pill are likely the cause. If you miss a second period and havent missed any doses, pregnancy is still unlikely. At this point though, if youre sexually active, its still worth taking a pregnancy test or calling your doctor.
Your doctor can help you address any other factors that may be at play. After youve pinpointed the cause, you should be able to get your period back on a regular cycle. You may be able to do this in a number of ways:
- Make sure you take time to relieve stress. Try breathing techniques, yoga, restorative walks, and even journaling to get at the root of your stress.
- Eat a healthy diet and work to keep your weight in a normal range. If you suspect you have an eating disorder, tell a friend or your doctor so they can point you to the resources you need to get help.
- Keep up with regular exercise. Your activity level may seem manageable to you, but see if stepping back a bit helps your regular bleeding resume.
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A Change In Your Schedule
Changing schedules can throw off your body clock. If you frequently change work shifts from days to nights, or if your schedule is generally all over the place, your period can be fairly unpredictable.
A change in your schedule shouldn’t cause you to completely miss your period, but it can cause your period to start earlier or later than expected. Your cycle can also change by a few days if you experience jet lag.
Treatment Options: Can You Fix Irregular Periods
If stress is a possible culprit in your irregular cycle, try stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, visualization, cognitive behavioral therapy, and biofeedback. Avoid over-exercising, and try not to diet excessively. If you need help figuring out whats best for you, contact a registered dietitian. For all medical issues, consult your healthcare professional.
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Why You Might Miss A Period
Amenorrhea is the term doctors refer to when a woman has missed three or more menstrual periods in a row.
It makes sense to chalk up a missed period to pregnancy if you’re sexually active. But the list of what causes amenorrhea is a lot longer than you might think, says Sherry Ross, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
How Home Pregnancy Tests Work
At-home pregnancy tests work by testing a small sample of urine for hCGhuman chorionic gonadotrophin. hCG is the pregnancy hormone that is produced by the developing embryo and, later, by part of the placenta.
Measuring the hCG via home pregnancy tests is qualitative, which explains why the results are a plain yes/no or negative/positive.
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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 don’t 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 you’re 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.
What To Do If You Miss Your Period
If you miss your period, you should wait at first. Give it a few days to make sure you didnt miscalculate or do something to mix up the dates or that you arent simply late. Many practitioners at this point, may recommend a pregnancy test.
You can take a pregnancy test at home or your can go into your doctors office. If its positive, you have your answer: You missed your period because you were pregnant. If it is negative, you may want to wait a bit and try again.
Seeing your doctor if you are worried is never a bad option. If you are planning to get pregnant soon, you can use the visit to start your preconception health plan. This is a great way to get your body on track to be pregnant. This helps you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
If you are not ready to be pregnant, they can help you determine what your reproductive life plan may look like to stay healthy and avoid pregnancy until the point where you make a decision to have children or permanently decide to not have children.
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Why Did I Miss A Period
Missing a period is not uncommon, and most of the time, it is not a cause for concern. Some of the reasons you might miss a period include:
Normal lifecycle changes
There are a number of changes that happen in the female lifecycle that can result in a skipped period. All of these are normal reasons to miss a period and are not cause for concern.
The most common reason for a missed period is pregnancy. If this is a possibility, take a home pregnancy test to see if this is the cause of your missed period. If you skip a period and then have one the next month at the expected time, its possible that a non-viable pregnancy occurred, and the period is actually an early miscarriage.
Breastfeeding can suppress your period, depending on how frequently you are nursing. You may get a period while breastfeeding, and then not have another one for several months or more, particularly if your baby is nursing exclusively. You can ovulate before you get your period, so its important to use birth control during this time, if you dont want to get pregnant.
A skipped period may be a sign that you are entering menopause and your periods are beginning to become less regular, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms of menopause . If you are 45 or older, there is a good chance this is the cause of a missed period.