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- Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:51 am
im 18, and have had irregular periods since i began menstruating at 12. some of it was due to stress when i was younger- but now im not under anywhere near the same type or level of stress.
i had for a long time kept track of my periods and found that mostly every other period was more than 30 days between, while the others were 26 or less days between. i never saw a conclusive pattern emerge, so i stopped keeping track.
at 16 i started having sex- using safe practices(IE: condoms, spermicide), but at the time didn't notice any menstrual changes. In the last year with my second and only current partner i have been extremely late after intercourse- and not pregnant as proven by negative tests.
my last period was either last week in november, or first week in december. and in the last few days, and to a lesser degree before my last period, i have been having extremely irregular sleep cycles, severe headaches, some dizziness, and nausea with normal movement(like walking to and from my classes). its actually been about 5 weeks since the last time i had sex, and i should be starting my period soon-but the odd symptoms have me worried. i have never gotten a satisfactory explanation for why i have always been so irregular, and now i'm concerned that it could be something else with the other symptoms. so is this all within normal parameters? or do i need to get it checked out?
should i be overly concerned? or not?
| Debbie Miller, RN
- Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:08 pm
Irregular cycles are actually normal. Unless you are on hormonal birth control pills, cycles typically vary quite a bit. While some women have naturally regular and predictable menstrual cycles, it is not considered abnormal to have a varying cycle between 26 and 36 days or even a greater variation than that. It has to do with how often and when you ovulate and even though the "average" is on day 14, this varies even in women with predictable periods and is somewhere between day 8 and day 19. This is why it is so difficult to predict when you might get pregnant (and why we recommend using birth control with every sexual encounter, not just on one or two days when you ovulate). It's just too unpredictable.
The problem with the symptoms you describe is that they could be attributable to any number of problems - many of which would have nothing to do with menses. I don't think this is serious but you should get a general physical exam to see if you are having some kind of problem - anemia, blood pressure, headaches, depression (which can cause physical symptoms). If you have a regular doctor or health center you can use, I would recommend scheduling an appointment. Meanwhile, keep a record of your symptoms, patterns, etc. It will be useful for the doctor.
By consistently using birth control you can be quite confident that pregnancy is not the cause.