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Menstrual Cycle Disturbances

What follows is a table indicating some of the most common reasons why women have abnormalities in their periods. If a pregnancy test is negative, but menstrual problems persist, it could be a sign of a more serious condition requiring immediate medical attention. You should see your obstetrician if pregnant and gynecologist if not.

period change

if you are

what it may mean

skipped period

any woman

stress, rapid weight loss or gain, illness, drugs (certain tranquilizers) may have disrupted cycle

 

sexually active

pregnancy

 

using the Pill

Pill brand is too low in estrogen

 

former Pill user

body hasn't yet adjusted to life off the pill; see doctor if periods don't resume in 3 months

 

using Norplant, Mini-Pill, or Depo-Provera

common side effect of progestin-only methods of birth control — drug is probably suppressing ovulation as well as period, effect may be prolonged; most common among new users of Norplant and long-term users of Depo-Provera

lighter/shorter
period

any woman

missed ovulation (no egg released from ovary)

 

sexually active

early pregnancy — some bleeding may occur on implantation; ectopic pregnancy — especially if accompanied by sharp pain on one side

 

using the Pill

less endometrial build up, a common Pill side-effect

 

using Norplant, Mini-Pill, or Depo-Provera

common side effect — drug is probably not suppressing ovulation if periods are regular

heavier/longer
period

any woman

fibroids (benign uterine growth)

 

sexually active

possible miscarriage, esp. if period is late and with severe cramps and clots in blood

 

an IUD user

device may have irritated the uterine wall — a common IUD side effect

 

using Norplant, Mini-Pill, or Depo-Provera

longer periods are a common side effect; heavier periods are a less common side effect, but iron supplements or discontinuation may be necessary

 

new mother

an enlarged uterus, resulting in the accumulation of more lining; a cervix widened by childbirth releases more menstrual fluid at once with less cramping

bleeding/spotting between periods

any woman

stress; an infection, cyst, or polyp of the cervix, vagina, or uterus

 

a new Pill user

breakthrough bleeding, common in first few months of use, may indicate brand of Pill is not right for user

 

current Pill user

missed a pill or taken one late

 

using Norplant, Mini-Pill or Depo-Provera

a common side effect, especially during the first few months of using the Mini-Pill

 

an IUD user

a local infection or inflammation caused by the device

 

pregnant

normal hormone fluctuations in first trimester can cause spotting


 
Woman's Health
   Male Birth Control
   Birth Control Pills
        Oral Contraceptives
        Progestin based
        Mini-pills
   Yeast Infections
        Diflucan
   PMS & PMDD Treatment
        Irritability
        Sadness
        Tension

Birth Control Basics
   Human Reproduction
        Female Anatomy
        Ovulation
        Conception
   Contraceptive Effectiveness
        Birth Control Comparisons
        Risks & Safe Sex
        Contraception Failure
        Unplanned Pregnancy
   Menstrual Disturbances
   STDs Deseases

Birth Control Methods
   Spermicides
        Foams, Films & Jellies
   Condoms
        Male Condoms
        Proper Condom Use
        Condom Comparisons
   Barrier Methods for Women
        Diaphragm
        Cervical Cap
        Sponge
        Female Condoms
   Fertility Awareness Methods
        Natural Family Planning
        Sympto-Thermal Method
        Ovulation Method
        Calendar Rhythm Method
        Prevent Pregnancy
        Using an NFP Chart
        Breastfeeding
        Fertility Computers
        Withdrawal
   Abstinence
        What Is Abstinence?
        Choosing to Wait
   Oral Contraceptives
        The Pill (Combined)
        The Mini-Pill (Progestin-Only)
        Do OCs Prevent Conception?
        Morning After-Pill (ECP)
   Implants, Injectables & IUD
        Norplant
        Depo-Provera
        Intrauterine Device
   Sterilization
        Tubal Ligation
        Vasectomy
        Sterilization Techniques
   Ineffective Contraception
        Methods to Avoid
        Choosing Not to Contracept
   Abortion
        Surgical & Medical Abortion
        Abortion Methods

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