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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Period Irregularity

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Author Topic: Period Irregularity
Member # 47223

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Hello there! First off, I apologize for the vague subject title, I wasn't quite sure the best category for my question. Also, if this is the wrong forum for my question, I can definitely repost to a different category.

I have never had a very regular period (I've been getting it since I was about 11 or 12, and I am turning 20 soon); typically it would range from 30-45 day long cycles, and last May, I even skipped a period. Lately, my period was coming more regularly, between the 18th and 20th of each month for about three months, but this month it is running pretty late and stressing me out. I have read up a lot about periods and that fluctuation is normal but it seems a little unusual to me that it is so late now after being regular for three months straight. In part it makes sense to me that it is late because

a) I am significantly more stressed now than I have been in the last three months. I am also prone to be very, very anxious at the slightest provocation (ex. if my friend is driving somewhere, I ask to be kept undated on the journey, and then my friend doesn't text me back within a few hours, I automatically become highly stressed that said friend has gotten into a car accident or if I can't get a hold of my parents during a hurricane, I assume that the hurricane has done significant damage and not that they just lost power.)

b) I haven't been eating well and started skipping lunch this month because I have had too much work at university. Apparently, I have lost noticeable weight recently, so I am going to try to eat more regularly, but I have been having a hard time finding time to eat and have also just not been hungry - partially because I don't like the food and partially because my stress has made my stomach act up and not want food.

c) I haven't been sleeping well and have only gotten 5-5.5 hours of sleep a night, which is not unusual for a university student, but still not what I need to be getting.

So I guess, given all the information above, I can entirely understand why my period would be running late, but I have also been getting really anxious (occasionally to the point of intense headaches and tears) that I might be pregnant even though I have been using condoms correctly when I have sex, plus (in addition to the condom use) my boyfriend also always pulls out and finishes manually. I do know that the stress of worrying about pregnancy probably isn't helping make my periods more regular, so I am going to go on the pill to try to limit future worries of this nature - but my doctor said I can't go on the pill until the Sunday after my next period, so that may have to wait a while.

My question, therefore, is partially a typical "am I being unreasonable for getting stressed about the chance of being pregnant?" (to which the answer I am pretty sure - especially after reading the resources available here - is a "yes, you are being unreasonable but if it will make you feel better go get a home pregnancy test") but also a question of "should I be concerned about my period's sudden return to irregularity and should I consult with my healthcare provider about this issue?"

Sorry that my post is somewhat rambling and probably unnecessary. I have just been getting very anxious about it and decided the best thing for my own peace of mind would probably be to ask around. Thanks so much in advance!

Posts: 14 | From: USA | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
Member # 90293

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Hi Bookworm93,

You know, it really is amazing how diet changes and stress can affect the menstrual cycle. Those things often aren't given enough credit for small and big changes in our cycles.

So, given that, the stress, lack of sleep, and diet changes, and the fact that your cycles have been irregular more often than not, it doesn't sound like anything is amiss here.

Mind, no contraceptive method is 100% effective, so it would not be unreasonable for you to get a home pregnancy test just to rule that out. Know that given everything else you've said here I think pregnancy is way down on the list of likely causes for your period not being here yet (we really can't even say it's late, given your irregularity).

It also sounds like you could use some help managing your stress and developing some self-care strategies. Most universities have free or low-cost counselling available. What do you think about going to chat with a counsellor about your anxiety in general and about coming up with some stress-reduction strategies?


Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 47223

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Hi Robin!

Thanks so much for your reply. It's good to hear that it doesn't sound too concerning that I am finding myself, once again, without a period.

I'll definitely look into checking in with my counseling center; apparently they prefer that we have a referral, but I have a meeting scheduled with my professional staff in my residential complex, and she should be able to give me a referral easily.

Just wondering, would you recommend that I try to establish more frequent eating patterns in order to try to help stabilize my system, or does it sound like more of a stress-related thing than anything else? I do eat when I am hungry; I just don't find myself hungry as often as usual.

Posts: 14 | From: USA | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 20094

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With the amount of stress you're dealing with, not having an appetite is pretty understandable. Whether or not establishing a more regular eating pattern will help regulate your cycle is pretty much impossible to know, but making sure you eat well and on a regular basis will very likely help you feel better overall: not eating well if we're already not feeling great tends to have the effect of making us feel worse, both mentally and physically.

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

Posts: 5799 | From: Canada/Australia | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 47223

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Thanks so much, again! I did take a test on the advice of my doctor and, as expected, it showed up negative, but I'm still kind of sitting here wondering what is going on with my system and how long it will take before I'll be "back to normal." I suppose all that I can do is just wait and try to establish healthy habits in the mean time. Thanks for your input!
Posts: 14 | From: USA | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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