My Period Stops Then Starts Again Then Stops
Have you ever gotten to the end of your period, delightedly thrown your pads or menstrual cup to the side and thought its all over for the month!, only to find blood on your underwear a day later?
Periods that stop, then start, then stop again are actually really common. When this happens, it can be very confusing and scary, but most of the time its nothing to worry about.
Why does my period stop then start again? is one of my most commonly asked period questions, so I thought it was about time to shed some light on some of the many reasons why this may be happening.
When Should I See My Doctor
Bleeding between periods is common in fact, it happens to most women at some point during their lives. However, it is not considered normal to bleed frequently in one month, or to bleed between your periods for several months. Bleeding after having sex should always be discussed with your doctor. There are many possible causes for bleeding between periods and a lot of them arent serious, but you should speak to your doctor if you bleed between periods as it can occasionally signal something serious.
Why Is My Period Heavy Then Light Then Heavy Again
In some cases, this can be completely normal however, in many cases having a period that starts heavy then goes light and heavy again is a sign of a hormonal imbalance or a sign of endometrial tissue blocking the cervix. In my free online masterclass, I give you insight into common hormone imbalances and how to fix these.
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What Causes Prolonged Menstrual Bleeding
While irregular menstrual periods can be bothersome, many are caused by hormonal changes, which are common and rarely mean something serious. Younger girls just entering puberty and older women approaching menopause are most likely to experience these hormonally based prolonged or irregular periods.
Usually, a changing level of estrogen is to blame. Estrogen helps build up the uterine lining, called the endometrium, which if it is fertilized will support a pregnancy. If no pregnancy happens that month, the lining is shed as a menstrual period. Doctors use the term dysfunctional uterine bleeding when a hormone imbalance is the cause of the bleeding.
In some cases, birth control can impact the frequency, duration, and flow levels of menstrual periods. The copper IUD may cause extra bleeding, Thielen says. And while birth control pills usually shorten your periods, its possible some can have the opposite effect. Changing the type of birth control you use may help with this issue. But if you are on birth control pills you should not stop taking them or alter your birth control strategy without speaking to your physician.
When Should A Woman Consider Seeing Her Doctor
If your spotting has been happening consistently for several months or youre worried about it for any reason keep a menstrual diary to track irregular menstrual cycles or bleeding. If the irregularity persists for more than two months, Id recommend making an appointment to see your ob/gyn for an exam.
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You’re Seriously Stressed Out
High levels of stress can cause either more frequent periods or completely missed ones, says Dr. Masterson, because the hormones that trigger your ovaries to ovulate every month originate in the brain .
Basically, when youre swamped at work or worrying a lot , those hormones can misfire and affect your cycle in negative ways.
What Is Bleeding Between Periods
After puberty and before menopause, women experience normal vaginal bleeding each month during their menstrual period. Normal vaginal bleeding, or a period, varies widely between women and can be different for you at different stages of your life. Generally, all women experience a menstrual period around once a month, approximately every 21 to 35 days, and it can last anywhere between 1 and 7 days.
Bleeding between periods is any vaginal bleeding that occurs outside of a normal period. Bleeding between periods may be similar to a normal period, may be heavier with a larger blood loss, or may be a very light blood loss . Bleeding between periods may be once off or may last for a number of days.
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Treatment For Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Treatment will depend on the cause, but may include:
- medication such as prostaglandin inhibitors, hormone replacement therapy or antibiotics
- dilatation and curettage involving dilation and gentle scraping of the cervix and the lining of the uterus
- change of contraception it may be necessary to explore methods of contraception other than the IUD or hormones
- surgery to remove tumours, polyps or fibroids or to treat ectopic pregnancy
- treatment of underlying disorders such as hypothyroidism or a bleeding disorder
- hysterectomy the removal of the entire uterus is a drastic last resort, generally only considered for treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding when a serious disease, such as cancer, is also present.
What Is Placenta Previa
Placenta previa occurs when the placenta covers the opening of the cervix during the last months of pregnancy. This condition can cause severe bleeding before or during labor.
The placenta develops in a pregnant persons uterus during pregnancy. This sac-like organ provides the developing baby with food and oxygen. It also removes waste products from the babys blood. The placenta is also referred to as afterbirth because it exits the body after the baby is born.
During pregnancy, the uterus stretches and grows. Its normal for the placenta to be low in the uterus in early pregnancy. As the pregnancy continues and the uterus stretches, the part of the uterine the placenta was stuck to moves, usually away from the cervical opening.
By the third trimester, the placenta should be near the top of the womb. This position allows the cervix, or the entrance to the womb at the bottom of the uterus, a clear path for delivery.
If the placenta attaches instead to the lower part of the uterus, it can cover part or all of the internal opening or os of the cervix. When the placenta covers the cervical os during the last months of pregnancy, the condition is known as placenta previa.
Most pregnant people with placenta previa will require pelvic rest. This typically includes abstaining from having sexual intercourse, limiting any procedures like an obstetrical check for dilation, and possibly restricting any exercises that may strain the pelvic floor.
- cramps or sharp pains
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Cervical Or Uterine Cancer
Gynecological cancers, including cervical and uterine cancer, are forms of cancer affecting female reproductive organs.
Anyone with female reproductive organs is at risk for gynecological cancer, and risk increases with age.
The HPV vaccine is recommended to help protect against cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.
Abnormal bleeding, including heavy bleeding and irregular discharge, is a common symptom of cervical, ovarian, uterine, and vaginal cancer.
Pelvic pain or pressure is another symptom of uterine cancer.
Treatments for gynecological cancers include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Symptoms of gynecological cancers vary both by location of cancer and the person experiencing it. Heavy bleeding can be a symptom of many disorders, so this symptom alone doesnt indicate cancer.
Coping And Support For Pregnant People
A placenta previa diagnosis can be alarming for people who are expecting a baby. Here are some ideas for how to cope with your condition and how to prepare yourself for delivery.
Get educated. The more you know, the more youll know what to expect. Get in contact with other people who have been through placenta previa births.
Be prepared for your cesarean delivery. Depending on the type of your placenta previa, you might not be able to have a vaginal birth. Its good to remember the ultimate goal the health of you and your baby.
Rest. Pelvic rest is important while you are experiencing this condition. Additionally you should not engage in any strenuous activity or heavy lifting. You can use the time wisely by catching up on small projects, such as:
- putting together a photo album
- writing letters
- reading about your upcoming lifestyle change
Pamper yourself. Indulge in small pleasures, such as:
- buying a new pair of comfortable pajamas
- reading a good book
- watching your favorite TV program
- keeping a gratitude journal
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When Should You See A Healthcare Professional For A Long Menstrual Period
If you have a long period for only one month, theres probably no need to worry. But if you notice a change for two or three cycles, thats the time to seek out your doctor, Thielen says.
Any significant bleeding between periods without an explanation such as a recently placed IUD should be evaluated. And a woman past menopause should have no bleeding at all and so should see her doctor immediately if she does.
Youre Experiencing An Ectopic Pregnancy
An unusually heavy period can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy , says Dr. Horton. Taking a pregnancy test can help you figure out if thats whats going on.
If you have a positive pregnancy test and have pain and vaginal bleeding, you should be evaluated, she says. Your doctor will get blood work and a pelvic ultrasound to see where the pregnancy is located and, if it is ectopic, treat it with medicine or surgery. Unfortunately, its not safe for a mother to carry an ectopic pregnancy.
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What To Do About It
Obviously, a bun in the oven can be ruled out with a simple pregnancy test. Keep in mind that false negatives are relatively common if you havent yet missed your period. If you experienced earlier-than-expected bleeding after your normal period, take the test again about a week after youd usually expect to get your period.
Since ectopic pregnancies also result in a positive pregnancy test and can become an emergency if left untreated, see your doctor for an ultrasound to confirm whether the embryo has implanted in your uterus. If it is an ectopic pregnancy, youll receive meds and potentially other treatments to prevent life-threatening complications.
How To Tell If Your Period Is Irregular
Many women will experience irregular periods at some point in their lives. Its particularly common for young women to experience highly irregular periods including very long periods during their first few years of menstruation. Their periods will often shorten and stabilize between one and three years after menstruation begins.
Irregular periods include periods that are lighter, heavier, arrive unpredictably, or last longer or shorter than the average. According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, its estimated that between 14 to 25 percent of women have what are classified to be irregular cycles.
That being said, if your periods are less than 21 days apart or more than 35 days apart, there could be an underlying cause thats making you more irregular. If this is the case, make an appointment with your doctor.
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You’ve Recently Taken Emergency Contraception
If youve taken an emergency contraceptive and found that you bled shortly after, its because the hormone levels in Plan B, for example, are similar but higher than the ones released in your body when you use birth control, resulting in spotting. Dr. Lincoln describes it as short-term and not harmful to your body.
Your Period Has Slowed Or Stopped
The big question if you’re not getting your period is — how old are you?
The cause of a missing menstrual period varies by age. “To quit having periods at age 25 is a significantly different issue than quitting at age 50,” Loffer says.
For a woman in their 20s or 30s who is sexually active, pregnancy is always a possibility. “Even if a woman thinks she’s protected, that’s not an absolute guarantee,” Loffer says.
On the other hand, women in their 40s or 50s could be in perimenopause — the period surrounding menopause. As your ovaries slow their estrogen production, periods become less frequent. Periods also can get shorter or lighter during perimenopause. Once your periods stop for a full 12 months in a row, you’re in menopause. The average age for menopause is 51.
Another possible cause of missed periods is excessive exercise. Anywhere from 5% to 25% of female athletes work out so hard that they stop getting their periods. Called exercise-induced amenorrhea, this phenomenon is particularly common among ballet dancers and runners. Intense exercise affects the production and regulation of reproductive hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.
For similar reasons, women who have eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can also stop getting their period. Severely restricting the amount of calories you eat suppresses the release of hormones your body needs for ovulation.
Other possible causes of missed periods include:
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You Had An Early Miscarriage
Early miscarriages are much more common than you may realize. Up to half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, often before the woman even realizes she was pregnant, according to the .
Sometimes the only sign is an extra-heavy or long period. Your menstrual cycle length should return to normal within one to two cycles if it stays abnormally long after three cycles, call your doctor, Dr. Toth says.
About one in 100 women suffer from repeat miscarriages, so it’s important to rule out a condition that affects fertility, like endometriosis.
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Is There Such A Thing As A Normal Period
Not really. The average woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days long, and the average period lasts for three to five days, but there can be huge menstrual cycle variations from woman to woman.
“Three days is normal for some women, seven days is normal for others,” says Franklin Loffer, MD, executive vice president and medical director of AAGL . Similarly, the normal period flow can be heavier in some women than in others.
Rather than worrying about the length or frequency of your period, you need to consider whether anything has changed.
“A woman should really be tracking her own menstrual cycle, because it provides huge numbers of clues about whether something’s not right,” says Frances Ginsburg, MD, director of reproductive endocrinology at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Conn., and assistant professor of clinical obstetrics/gynecology in the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Here are some common menstrual period changes, and what they might mean.
Not Sure What To Do Next
If you are still concerned about bleeding between periods, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self-care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
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My Period Has Been On For A Month What Can Be Wrong And
You need to have the cause of the bleeding investigated by a doctor, polyps or changes in hormone levels can be two causes. You also need to have your clotting levels checked and after this length of time have your iron levels checked too.
Once the cause is investigated then treatment can be another hormone or drugs to slow the fleeding such as tranexamic acid or mefenamic acid.
None of these are available OTC, you need to see your doctor to get a prescription.
Does this help?