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- Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:40 pm
Hello, I am a soon to be 26 year old female that lives in Michigan. I have had my period for over a month now and I am rather concerned. My periods have never been regular, I tend to go a few months with no period and then get one that normally lasts about 4 days followed by a few months of no bleeding or just some spotting. I have never had my period for more than one week. Is this something normal or should I be scared?
| Dr. Tamer Fouad
- Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:00 am
Irregular menstruation can be caused by many conditions. Since this has been happening to you ever since menarche I advise you to have it checked by a gynecologist, if you already haven't done so.
Causes in general include pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy (especially if you have had a tubal ligation), use of hormonal birth control methods (such as birth control pills or hormonal injections or implants), recently stopping birth control pills or breast-feeding.
Other causes such as rapid weight loss, obesity, excessive exercise or participation in endurance sports, menopause, severe stress or lifestyle change, use of certain medications and hormone imbalance.
Other, more serious causes of missed periods include tumors, pituitary disorders, and other glandular problems involving the ovaries, thyroid, or adrenal glands. These problems are rare.
Usually if the period is late and the woman is not pregnant, the cause is hormonal--she is not ovulating regularly for some reason. Weight changes and stress levels can disrupt the menstrual cycle; so can being peri-menopausal, taking some medications, and engaging in heavy exercise.
1. Jonathan S. Berek: Novak's Gynecology, 13th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002.