I’ve missed a period! Am I pregnant? Is it an STD? I don’t know what’s going on. If you’ve ever needed an explanation to your missing period, then you’re about to get one. In a nutshell, a missed period could mean many different things. So what should you do if you miss a period and when should you worry? Let’s take a look at some common scenarios:
I am sexually active and not on regular birth control
You could be pregnant- take a home pregnancy test or go to see your GP to have a blood test done if you prefer. If you are not pregnant and your period does not return then you need to see a doctor.
I am sexually active and take my birth control like clockwork
You could still be pregnant! No birth control method is 100% effective, so take a home pregnancy test. If you are not pregnant and your period does not return it could be your birth control method itself causing you to not have your period. This is common and not cause for concern but you will still need to see your doctor to make sure that there is no other reason causing you not to menstruate.
I am not currently sexually active and not on birth control. My periods are usually regular
A change in your cycle is something that should not be ignored- it can be an early sign that there is something wrong. There are many potential reasons- go see your doctor.
I am not currently sexually active, not on birth control and my periods are irregular
Irregular periods may be an early sign of a deeper problem, go to see your doctor.
So why would your period disappear or become irregular? A woman’s menstrual cycle is dependent on many factors to keep it running smoothly. Common causes of a disrupted cycle include ovarian issues (like Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS), medications (birth control, anti-seizure medication, chemotherapy), chronic illness (HIV, Cancer, Diabetes), thyroid dysfunction and – something which is becoming increasingly common – extreme dieting with calorie restriction and excessive exercise.
Keep track of your monthly cycle on a calendar and watch for changes – if you find you are regularly missing your period or your cycle is out of sync take action, don’t ignore it!
Author: Dr Lynelle Hoeks