Missed Periods – A sign of fertility as well as infertility
For many women of childbearing age, pregnancy is first suspected when their menstrual cycle goes haywire.
Missing your monthly period by a few days is not a significant concern. We are talking about missed periods by the weeks or months.
When this strikes you, the first question to ask yourself is “how old am I?”
The underlying reasons of a missed period vary by the age.
If you have just stepped into puberty, your periods may not have a fixed schedule as your body takes time to adjust itself to its new condition, usually taking 6 months to a year to do so. Unless you have had sex the month before, this should be normal. See a doctor should it take more than a year to adjust or if your last period was more than 6 months ago.
Speaking about missed periods in a woman in her late 40’s, menopause comes first on the list. Missed periods is not a menopause unless your last period was 12 months ago. Like the irregularity you have faced in your early years of puberty, your body has the same reason when it comes to menopause; that is, trying to adjust the body to stop menstruating.
Missed periods occurring at other than the above mentioned ages (i.e. somewhere between 18 and 45 years old) can be worrisome. Whether it’s normal or not is a big question. If you are breastfeeding, pregnant or are on contraceptive pills, then yes, it’s normal.
Delayed menstruation can also be caused by reasons as simple as stress, overweight, underweight or anorexia, all of which may sometimes be overlooked. Excessive exercise, such as those done by athletes, may also delay menses.Pregnant? Click here for more info on the signs of Pregnancy
If you think none of the above applies to you, then let us move on to more serious, but not uncommon problems which may call for a doctor’s attention. The most common problem women face is cysts growing in their ovaries, medically termed ‘polycystic ovarian syndrome’ or abbreviated as PCOS. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that develop in a woman’s ovaries. The word ‘poly’ refers to more than one cyst in growing in the ovary. Nevertheless, the presence of even one cyst may disturb your menstruation, let alone if it is multiple. Cyst tends to get bigger when the ovary fails to ovulate and release the egg into the Fallopian tube. This is caused by, and in turn may lead to hormonal imbalances.
If you have had any abortions, cleaning of your womb (D&C) after a miscarriage, hysteroscopy or any other instrumental procedures done on your cervix or womb, adhesions are more likely suspected. Adhesions are fibrous bands forming between tissues and organs due to scarring. These block the flow of blood during menses and may trick you into thinking that you have missed a cycle. This, as well as PCOS, may cause infertility. If you are trying to conceive, it is wise to consider these possibilities.
Other less common causes of missed menstruation are diabetes, thyroid hormones imbalance, intestinal problems, tuberculosis and liver diseases. Don’t forget that side effects of various medications or drug abuse can also be a cause.
So, should you see a doctor right away? Don’t rush, don’t stress yourself up. Relax. Take a deep breath. Try to think of the possibilities of being pregnant. You might want to get yourself a urine pregnancy test to make sure pregnancy is not the cause of your missed periods.
If you’re overweight/underweight, reducing your weight/gaining weight helps restore normal cycles and fertility. Check your body mass index to be sure. Still not helping? Still not sure what is the cause of your missed periods? Looks like it’s time for you to see a doctor for further tests.Click here for our full range of Women’s Health Services
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