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Video:Why Is My Period Late?

with Dr. Stuart James Fischbein

Late periods or delayed menstrual cycles can occur for many reasons. Pregnancy, medical conditions, stress, and exercise may cause a missed period. Learn more about why your period is late with this informational video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Why Is My Period Late?

Hello, my name is Dr. Stuart James Fischbein. I’m a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. You can find me at www.BirthingInstincts.com. I’m here today on behalf of About.com to discuss with you possible reasons why your period might be late.

Normal Menstrual Cycles are About 30 Days

Most women, from the time they are 11, 12, or 13 years old, will get their first menstrual period. The menstrual period is a normal, physiologic event that occurs between your pituitary gland in your brain, your ovaries, and your uterus, that run in harmony to help prepare your uterus each month for the possibility of getting pregnant. Early on when you’re a teenager, you may skip cycles as this system is just getting tuned up and ready to go. It’s very common for a woman to have about a 28-30 day cycle, with ovulation occurring about 14 days before the period comes.

Common Reason for a Late Period

When you miss a period, there’s possible many reasons for that, most of which are not terribly pathological, or a medical problem, so to speak. The most common reason why someone who is sexually active misses a period is the possibility of pregnancy. So whenever you are late on your period, the most important thing to do is make sure you go out and buy a pregnancy test, and just confirm that you are not pregnant. Other reasons why women will skip a period periodically are very common things like: stress, weight gain, weight loss, too much exercise, traveling, lack of sleep. Those are very common things that happen to women of all ages at any time during their menstrual history.

It can also happen for no reason whatsoever. Sometimes your ovaries will just hiccup and you’ll have maybe even two periods in a month or no periods for two or three months. When that happens it is usually not a problem.

Medical Conditions Associated with Late Periods

However, if you are concerned you should consult your practitioner. Occasionally you will begin to skip periods more often or you will have long periods where you don’t see any menstrual bleeding. When that happens, it is probably reasonable to discuss that with your physician because there are hormonal concerns with your body that can do that, and other medical problems, things like: hypothyroidism can do that, something called polycystic ovarian disease can do that, some people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome have a tendency to not metabolize glucose well and it’s sort of a pre-diabetic condition.

Other things that can do it are certain pathologies to the uterus itself – you can have some scarring to the uterus from a previous procedure. But these things are quite rare and the history is pretty obvious. So for the most part, skipping a period every now and then is not a problem. However, when it does happen, if you’re concerned, the best thing to do is call your practitioner.

Once again this is Dr. Stuart James Fischbein. Thank you so much for watching. If you want more information you can find us online at About.com.

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