Your Thyroid Isn’t Working Properly
An underactive or overactive thyroid gland can cause your period to come twice in one month. The thyroid gland is regulated by hormones produced and regulated in the same area of the brainthe pituitary and hypothalamusas the hormones that control menstruation and ovulation, explains Dweck. When one is off, the other might be affected.
If you have hyperthyroidism , you may also lose weight unexpectedly, feel nervous or anxious, have a rapid heartbeat, or have trouble sleeping. Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, constipation, fatigue, and increased sensitivity to cold, among other symptoms.
Your risk of developing a thyroid disease could vary by race, potentially due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors. According to a 2014 study in JAMA, Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder often at the root of hyperthyroidism, is more common in Black, Asian, and Pacific Islander women compared to white women. On the other hand, Hashimotos disease, which often causes hypothyroidism, is more common in white women.
What to do about it
This is diagnosed with a blood test and typically treated with medication. Hypothyroidism drugs restore your levels to a normal level so symptoms should disappear and you start feeling better soon. Hyperthyroidism medications can clear up symptoms within a few weeks by keeping your thyroid from overproducing hormones. Most of the time this treatment permanently fixes the issue, although sometimes you may need surgery.
Should Women With Irregular Periods Panic
Irregular periods are concerning. More so if getting pregnant is on the cards. Missing periods can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Theres no need to panic. Take action early. Seek advice from your OB/GYN, as doctors can help increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
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Reaction To Birth Control
Hormonal birth control introduces hormones into your body. This can affect your menstrual cycle. You may need to try a few different types of birth control to find one that works for you. It also takes a few months for your body to adjust to a new method of birth control.
Talk to your doctor about what you should expect when starting a new birth control method.
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Put The Clamp On Cramps
Anyone who’s prone to cramps knows just how painful they can be, and that no amount of tea and chocolate really help that much. Sure, wine and ibuprofen can come in handy, but at the end of the day, some cramps are just persistent and they can come back, month after month.
Just why do you get cramps when you get your period? According to Dr. Trolice, “Menstrual cramping occurs from uterine contractions shedding its lining,” which makes sense. Your uterus is basically expelling the lining it took a month to build up, so no wonder it can be unpleasant.
But skipping your period can mean skipping your cramps as well, according to Dr. Trolice. He continued, saying that “continuous birth control pills prevent or limit menstrual flow thereby reducing or eliminating uterine contractions to shed the endometrial lining, ergo lessening or avoiding menstrual cramps.”
Studies confirm it, so if you’re tired of huddling up to a hot water bottle every month, talk to your doctor about which options might be best for you.
When To Visit The Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you can’t pinpoint the reasons for a late period they may want to check for various conditions. It’s also important to note that vaginal bleeding after a late period may not be the monthly visitor you were expecting. “Anybody who experiences heavy bleeding and pain after a missed period and/or a positive pregnancy test should go to the doctor,” says Dr. McDonald. “All bleeding is not a period, especially in a setting where something is off.”
Your Periods Could Become Less Frequent
Before you reach menopause, your body goes through perimenopause, a transition time between normal periods and full menopause , which can last one to five years, says Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, MD, an ob-gyn in Seattle. Perimenopause is a time thats characterized by irregular menses, which are usually more spaced out. As your hormones start to fluctuate, it can lead to scanter, lighter periods, adds Adeeti Gupta, an ob-gyn and founder of Walk In GYN Care in New York City.
There Are Many Reasons That Periods Can Be Irregular Or Absent Some Require Treatment And Some Do Not
It is not uncommon to occasionally miss a period, or for periods to become irregular from time to time. Under some circumstances, periods can even stop altogether. Sometimes these irregularities are due to normal changes, and are not cause for concern. Other times, they are a sign that something is going on, and a call to your doctor is warranted.
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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.
Reasons Your Period Is Late
During your usual morning routine, you open your cabinet, spot a box of tampons in the back, and you suddenly realize youre late. When was my last period? you think as you try to remember the last time you needed to reach for that box. Panic then takes over as your mind shoots straight to pregnancy.
While being pregnant is a possible reason for a missed period, there may be factors related to your health or lifestyle that are causing the delay, notes Shelley White-Corey, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A& M Health Science Center College of Nursing and a womens health nurse practitioner.
Your period may not make an appearance after your baby is born, but dont be alarmed! If you are breastfeeding your little one, a lack of periods is completely normal. Referred to as lactational amenorrhea, this is a phase that disrupts the rhythm of your menstrual cycle. After a few months, your monthly period should be right back on track.
Weight loss or weight gain
Whether youre overweight or underweight, any change in pounds can affect your monthly cycle. Common health problems linked to weight and irregular menstruation include eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, and uncontrolled diabetes. If you suspect this might be an issue for you, see your health care provider right away.
Sleep schedule changes
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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What Is A Period
A period is the time in a woman or girl’s monthly cycle in which her unfertilized egg leaves her body, along with blood and uterine tissue lining . This normally takes about five days. Periods usually first begin at or around age 12 in the US. They may begin between the ages of 10 and 15, though some may also start sooner or later than this. A period begins Day 1 of the menstrual cycle.
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 didn’t miscalculate or do something to mix up the dates or that you aren’t 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 doctor’s office. If it’s 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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Causes Of Late Or Skipped Periods
Missing your period can be concerning, whether youre sexually active or not. Many different things can lead to missing or irregular periods, and it can take some time to narrow down exactly whats wrong. That said, there are some common culprits behind this issue, so you have a place to start.
At Serrano OBGyn, our compassionate doctor, Dr. Christopher Serrano, can solve the mystery behind your missing or late periods. If youre pregnant, he can provide prenatal care. If youre not, he can provide appropriate treatment, if needed, to help balance your system
What To Do When Your Period Is Late
If your period is more than a week late and you got a negative pregnancy test, you may want to schedule an appointment with your health care provider to be safe. Your doctor can do a blood test to confirm that youre not pregnant.
If the blood test is also negative and your practitioner rules out any other possible concerns, its fine to sit back and go with the flow . Every woman skips a period now and then, especially if shes under stress or has been sick. Relax and do what you can to ease anxiety by eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
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Understanding The Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the process by which your body prepares an egg for fertilization, and also the period in time when your body removes the egg to prepare for the next egg. This is sometimes called a “monthly cycle,” and while 28 days is an average menstrual cycle length, it can range from about 24 days to 34 days.
Menstrual Cycle Timeline
- Day 1: Your menstrual cycle begins with the start of your period. The tissue lining around your uterus breaks down and an unfertilized egg begins to leave through your vagina along with blood. The bleeding of a period usually lasts 4-8 days, averaging 5 days for US women.
- Day 5: Your estrogen levels rise once bleeding has stopped, and this does several things. These include:
- The lining of your uterus thickens, preparing it for a new egg.
- Ovarian sacs that contain eggs grow and mature, preparing one for ovulation.
You Have Precancerous Or Cancerous Cells
When found in either the uterus and cervix, precancerous and cancerous cells can cause irregular bleeding. Suffice it to say, a tumor growing on the cervix or uterus can bleed erratically, says Dr. Dweck. One study even found that irregular periods are more likely to lead to ovarian cancer, so early detection is key.
Incidence rates of gynecological cancer vary by race and ethnicitycervical cancer disproportionately impacts Hispanic women, while Black women and white women are more likely to develop uterine cancer, per the CDC.
What to do about it
These are diagnosed with an ultrasound and uterine biopsy, and a pap smear and cervix biopsies, respectively, so if youve ruled out other causes, get to an ob-gyn STAT.
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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.
A Curious Case Of Anovulation
Irregular periods may also be a sign of anovulation. During the menstrual cycle, a mature egg releases. When ovulation does not occur, the cycle is anovulatory. Though not a disease, research shows consistent anovulation indicates an underlying fertility or hormonal issue. In most cases, doctors prescribe fertility drugs or other treatment to improve ovulation and regulate the period.
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