Ask The Expert Archives on Menstruation

July 13, 2011
Marta Mendez, MD
Marta Mendez, MD

Questions on Contraception answered by Marta Mendez, MD

 

Q: Irregular periods and discharge
I am twenty years old. I'm a little confused. I read your past questions that people write to you. I found one that I can relate to. I have been having the weirdest periods and discharges lately and I'm not sure why. Not only the length of time but the brownish color that it is, just does not seem right to me. I have always had irregular periods. I was put on birth control pills and the problem was solved. My problem was that I was not having a period. Now I don't know if I am having a period or if it's just a weird discharge. What is wrong with me? Now the differences between the question that I related to my problem was that the cause could be from using birth control for so long. But my problem is that I haven't used birth control pills for about two years. If it's not BCP, what could be causing this brownish discharge?

A:Some other causes of vaginal discharge are: recent medication with broad spectrum antibiotics, and vulvovaginitis ( e.g., bacterial vaginosis, trichomonas, candida (yeast)). Appearance of the vaginal secretions can give a clue to diagnosis ( e.g., curly, white, thick discharge is typical of candida, and a white or yellow, bubbly discharge is typical of trichomonas).

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Breakthrough bleeding
I am 21 years old and have been on birth control for about 9 months. I am now on my fourth type of birth control since I have experienced breakthrough bleeding on all types. My doctor now wants me to undergo an ultrasound, blood work and some other tests to make sure I am not suffering from a larger problem. I have been on birth control in the past (the same type I am on now) without any problems. I also cycled very regularly when not on birth control. Since I have yet to miss a pill and am not on any other types of medications, what could be triggering this? What sort of problems may be discovered by these tests my doctor is suggesting? Any information you can supply will be greatly appreciated.

A:
1. Breakthrough bleeding is one of the negative effects of hormonal contraception.
2. The safety of hormonal contraception for most healthy women is well established.
3. Ultrasound provides information of the pelvic structures.
4. Which are the "some other tests" you mentioned?

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: No period for 10 months
I am 21 years old and for the last 10 months I have not had my period. It has never been normal. What could be the cause of it being so long since my last period?

A:There are many causes of secondary amenorrhea (skipped menstrual periods). You really need a complete physical exam (pelvic included) and some important tests. The events of the menstrual cycle are the results of interactions between the central nervous system (CNS), ovaries and uterus. Since your periods are always abnormal, you must go to a gynecologist (thorough history and physical exam is necessary).

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Irregular cycle
I have never gotten my period regularly and I have had it since I was 13. I am now 19. I have never been to the OB/GYN either. I have am afraid to go. Are there any diseases I should worry about at my age. Please give me some advice.

A:Don't be afraid. It is time to go to a gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Lack of period due to PID?
I was diagnosed with PID in September of 1999. Before that I had recently, about 3 months earlier stopped using Depo Provera. I have had heavy discharge for about a week. Last month I never got my period, and I've been thinking it's soon. I've had cramps, and even a little spotting, but no real flow....... I'm very worried about this. I don't think I'm pregnant. I've taken two tests. Should I continue to worry?

A:Irregular bleeding, headaches, breast tenderness and delayed return to fertility are some of the side affects of Depo-Provera.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Heavy periods after pregnancy
I gave birth to a baby girl on October 31, 1998 by C-section after an 18 hour labor. After my delivery, I have been experiencing heavy bleeding during my periods which extends up to 7-8 days and sometimes even 10. I even get blood clots in the discharge. Earlier my periods were only 3 days long and not very heavy. Last month, I found pinkish/brownish discharge during the days when ovulation occurs. Then just when my period was supposed to start, I had clots of blood in my discharge. My period continued for 8 days. I thought it happened because I have recently taken up exercising (walking & cycling), but I am worried. Is this something serious or will it get normal after some time? I do feel that the bleeding is getting lighter gradually.

A:It could be related to the exercises. Go to your gynecologist in two months.

Marta Mendez MD, OBGYN.net Co-Chair Young Woman Editorial Advisory Board
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Do heavy periods and clots mean endometriosis?
I have a question about my cycle. It is sometimes a small flow, then a big flow. But when I have a big flow, I have a lot of clotting. The clots are sometimes big, and they come within 10 to 15 minutes at a time. I was just wondering what might be causing this. I am 22 and I'm worried something might be wrong, but right know I can't afford to go to the doctor. Is there anything I can do when it happens to stop it from happening? In my family there is a history of endometriosis... could that be what it is? Thank you very much.

A:It might be a dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB). The two major categories of abnormal uterine bleeding are:
-organic (disease)
-Dysfunctional (no disease).
Go to your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Period problems
I am a 19 year old who is having some period problems. Just recently they have been very irregular. I have been having them about every 2 weeks and they usually last 4-5 days. But this time it has almost lasted 2 weeks! It seems like it is very heavy when my periods are always light. Along with this period I got some really bad pains (worse than cramps). This is also weird because I never get cramps. I have a doctor appointment scheduled, but all this is causing me to sleep and feel lazy. My step mom told me to get some iron pills. Do you have any idea what is going on?

A:Menstruations are 28 days apart with normal variations of 7 days. Duration of flow is 4 days with normal variations of about 2-3 days. The amount of blood is 4o ml with normal variations of 20 ml. But deviation from these norms can occur, especially in adolescents and climacteric women.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: No menstruacin por el ultimo ano
Por el ultimo ano, no e podido menstruar. En Enero '99 deje de tomar pastillas anticonceptivas porque mi menstruacin estaba durando 8-10 das, y tambin me venia muy fuerte. La razn principal que empec a tomar las pastillas fue porque desde que empec a menstruar (al los 11 anos), nunca e podido menstruar regularmente. Ahora tengo un ano si menstruar y me preocupa que afecte el futuro de poder tener hijos. Que recomienda que haga? Mi ginecloga me sugiere que empiece de nuevo a tomar pastillas, pero yo no quiero, tengo miedo que me afecten m fertilita. Agradezco su ayuda.

A:¿Cuntos aos tienes ahora? Es necesario una evaluacin clnica completa (antecedentes, exmen fsico y plvico) y seguramente pruebas hormonales, de laboratorio e imgenes para aclarar tu situacin. Tu problema parece caer dentro del terreno endocrinolgico (hormonal). Debes conversar con tu doctora sobre estos puntos. Tambin puedes conseguir una segunda opinin de otro coolega de tu localidad.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Unusual menstruation
I am 26 yrs old experiencing a rather unusual menstruation. I have hypothyroidism and am taking medication for it. I have been bleeding now since November 7th. At first it was normal which lasted about 7 days and then all of a sudden it got really heavy with very large clotting. Now it's a normal flow. I'm not experiencing any pain and I rarely ever have menstrual cramping. I know I should go to the doctor but I am rather embarrassed to go while menstruating. Do you have any idea what this is? Is there a possibility that I am in need of a hysterectomy like my mother and grandmother? Please help me with this dilemma.

A:Hypothyroidism is associated with menstrual irregularities. I think that you should consult your endocrinologist and your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

 

 

Q: Late period... lots of questions
I am a 33 year old female with four children. My husband had a vasectomy two years ago. In January (this month) I spotted a lot (very light, but I did). Now I am one week late starting my period. All week I have had some cramping... not a lot, but now I am concerned. This week I also have had hot flashes... mostly at night. Recently I have noticed that I have gained almost five pounds in two days. I haven't really been on a diet but I am watching what I eat and cutting back. I also started riding an exercise bike and doing leg lifts about two weeks ago. My concern is that I still haven't started. I usually am on time every month. My periods are very light and only last four to five days. Please give me some advice on what this might be. I haven't taken a pregnancy test because I have been too scared. My husband never went back to doctor to have his count checked after the surgery. That is why I really don't know. Thank you for taking the time to read my e-mail.

A:Usual menstrual periods are 28 days apart, with normal variations of about 7 days. "Vasectomy 2 years ago"?...Pregnancy is unlikely, but not impossible.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: What is a normal cycle length?
What is the normal cycle length of a period? Do you count the days that it happening or not?

A:Menstrual periods are (usually) 28 days apart, including the days that it is happening.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Trying to conceive, can I regulate my periods?
My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost 2 years now. The problem is that I have very irregular periods, about every 8 months. The doctors are unsure what is causing this, and have not diagnosed me with anything in particular. I am 20 and they have me on Clomid treatment. I was wondering if there is a name for what I have or what could be causing it. Or if there was anything that I could do to try to regulate my periods?

A:The name is anovulation (cessation of ovulation) or ligoovulation (diminished ovulations). You should clarify your problem with your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Lost my period!
I have recently lost my period (5 months). I am 20 years old and I am obese. Will this effect my chances of getting pregnant later in life? What are the other problems I might encounter?

A:Obesity may alter your menstrual hormonal cycle and your overall health. Consult an endocrinologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Reddish-brown discharge
I am a 22 yr old, that has been on birth control for almost 2 yrs. I have had no problems on the pill. The other day after I had intercourse with my boyfriend, I noticed some reddish-brown discharge. This has been going on for almost a week. The discharge is not a lot but enough for me to notice that I am spotting. Also I have noticed a more distinct smelling odor too. I see my Dr this week to have a yearly pap. I am wondering if it is OK to have a pap done or what?

A:Have your pap done, it's OK. Talk to your gynecologist about the discharge.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Can obesity cause irregular menstruation?
My 17 year old daughter is overweight (258lb) and she started her menstural cycle at age 13. She has not had a consistent cycle since she started. Recently, she has missed three consecutive months. We went to the doctor today and he told us it is because of her weight and she may stop ovulating completely. Needless to say we are stunned. The doctor's only recommendation is weight loss. We will start on the Sugar Busters diet as suggested by the doctor.

Our doctor is a family practitioner. We are in search of any other suggestions, recommedations, or insight on the subject from an expert in the OB/GYN profession.

A:Your doctor's recommendation is correct. Being overweight has a detrimental effect upon the female reproductive system. You should consult a gynecologist and a nutrition specialist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Can I have a gynecological exam during my period?
I am going for my first visit to the gynecologist but due to the dates available, I ended up with an appointment during the last couple of days of my period. Can the doctor still due an exam if I am still menstruating (or almost done menstruating)?

A:Yes, but it is better to wait a couple of days.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Amennorhea?
I am a 31-year-old mother of three who has only missed a period when I was pregnant. My period usually lasts three to five days with moderate bleeding. I first got my period when I was twelve or thirteen. I had an emergency surgery for ectopic pregnancy after my second child and a C-section with the third. The baby is now 11 months and I still have not had a period. I have had normal pap smears. Two different doctors prescribed Provera. Two internal sonograms showed nothing except a small cyst on my right ovary. I have had pain for six months straight as if I were getting my cycle, but there is still nothing. Hormone blood tests say everything is normal. The doctor says there is another drug that can be given.

What I want to know is what might be the problem? What might be the cause? The doctor doesn't give me a reason. The doctor explained that after a C-section when the uterus is "wiped clean" your hormones can go "out of whack". I really wouldn't mind if my period ever came back, but I know it's not normal. Please respond with some information of what might be wrong. I know you can't give a definite answer, I just want to know what might be the reason for this. The emotional stress is about to send me to the crazy house. I feel as if I'm in my own private nightmare because the months keep going by and there are no answers. I don't know if it is some cancer or what!

A:Maybe your doctor is going to stimulate your uterus inner lining (endometrium) with an oestrogen and progestin (provera) cycle.

Some causes of amenorrhea are: "wiped clean uterus", intrauterine adhesions, high prolactin level (do you still have a milky nipple secretion?), psychogenic, stress, or thyroid dysfunction. It is not cancer!

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Extremely irregular cycle
I am 15 years old and I started menstruating at the age of 14. I got my period for about 8 months, with the first one being mere spotting and a 60 day interval between the first and second, and then a 40 day interval between the second and third, and finally the next few periods had only about 35 days in between. They yielded a more normal amount of menstrual fluid. All of a sudden I stopped getting one, and I waited and waited. In January, it will be one full year since I have had a period. Yes, my mother has taken me to a gynecologist, and he put me on 10 days of provera pills. We all were certain that would bring on my period, but it didn't. So a month later he put me on 21 days of 1.25 mg tablets of premarin and with the last 5 days of the premarin, I also took a provera pill. I have been on premarin for over 2 weeks now and tomorrow I will begin incorporating the provera with it, but I was certain I already would have gotten my period. The doctor told me the reason I stopped getting my period was because I lost about 25 pounds, but I lost that weight in July. If that was the problem between July and now, don't you think I would have gotten a period? It makes me scared and I know at the age of 15 I should be getting a period, especially because of the fact that I already have technically started menstruating since I've had about 6 periods. If the premarin/provera combo doesn't end up working, what should I do? Does this mean there is something wrong with me? I am not sexually active and never have been, so it can't be an STD that has settled in. Please give me a few recommendations.

A:There's nothing wrong with you. Menstrual cycles following menarche are irregular for a period of 1 to 3 years and after that they became regular. Sometimes there are other factors such as stress and heavy exercise.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Light discharge between periods
I have experienced very light discharge between my period for a week now. It is like I am still on my period but not heavy at all. It has been about a week since my period. There is also sometimes a gooey, whitish moisture on my vagina. This happened a few days after having intercourse, but I have had intercourse before and this didn't happen. This is the first time this has happened to me. I am 18. In another week and a half I should start my period again. Can you tell me if I should start worrying about this or wait and see if it goes away after my next period? Could it possibly be from not having intercourse during the week then having it on the weekends? I have not seen an OB/GYN before and I was wondering if you could give me some possibilities before I do?

A:It may not be related to intercourse. Vaginal discharge is a common gynecologic "problem" : Leukorrhea (normal mucoid discharge due to normal estrogen effect), Trichomonas (malodorous, yellow or yellow-white), Candida (thick, white, cheesy, pruritic)... Consult your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

 

Q: Menstrual Problems
I am 19, and have never been to a gynecologist. Recently, my period has diminished to almost nothing and lasts for about two weeks. But after that, a brownish discharge lasts for about 2 weeks. What is this and how serious is it?

A: Menstrual problems are common among adolescents. Most are minor problems such a variations of the length of the menstrual cycle, duration and amount of menses. As you put it , it does not sound serious but you should discuss this with your doctor (gyn).

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Lost Tampon?
Is it possible to lose a tampon inside your uterus and how does this happen?

A: I have never heard of a tampon inside the UTERUS. Physically it is not possible.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q:
Tengo 22 aos. Tengo una gran preocupacion, ya que quiero saber ¿Qu tanto riesgo hay en tener relciones en periodo de menstruacin? El mircoles tuve relaciones sin proteccin y fu el primer da de mi menstruacin. Normalmente tengo mucho flujo y dura aprox. 1 semana. Hoy, a tres das, mi flujo ya es muy escaso y como cuando faltan dos das para que termine el periodo. Tambin estoy pasando por una depresin. ¿Esto tambin podra ser un factor de interrupcin en mi periodo? o ¿Qu podra estar pasando conmigo? Realmente le agradecera que me contestara lo antes posible a mi e-mail y ojal y pudiera ser una contestacin directa y no por web. Le agradezco mucho su atencin y espero oir pronto de usted.

A: El querer tener un hijo y no poder, y el poder y no querer... provocan depresion. En ambos casos se puede presentar ausencia de la menstruacin sin embarazo alguno. El riesgo de embarazo por relaciones durante una menstruacin normal es practicamente cero.

Marta Mendez MD,  OBGYN.net Co-Chair Young Woman Editorial Advisory Board
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Polycystic Uterus
I would like to know your opinion on the following: a 13 year old girl suffers from having a period all the time! We have tried every medication applicable in this field, but no avail. Further investigation showed that she has a polycystic uterus (intervention laparoscopic search took place, normal blood tests; only the estradiol is elevated (0.72)-she appears to be a normal girl: 162 cm, 65 kg. At this moment she has no medication because of all the hormones she took already. (she does not use other medications) Please have some answers, for we are growing desperate. PS: her mother had an hysterectomy because of a polycystic uterus at the age of 37.

A: Polycystic uterus? Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding) and anovulation (OVULATION = release of the egg cell from the ovary. ANOVULATION = absence of ovulation) in teenagers, usually is caused by "Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)". This is a diagnosis of exclusion. Bleeding may be prolonged and uncontrolled. The prognosis (subsequent normal fertility) is good. You should discuss this with her doctor (gyn-endocrinologist).

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: The Pill
I am going to start taking the pill and my doctor told me that I have to take it everyday starting by the first day of my period. Every packet of pills contains 28 pills. The question I have is will the days that I have my period count inside the 28 days? What I mean is, if I start to take the pill the first day of my period, the day I finish the 28 pills, will my period come that day?? I am looking forward to hearing from you, thank you very much.

A: Yes, those days count inside the 28.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Irregular Periods
I keep missing my period, I have been getting it off and on. My doctor wants to take blood tests. Do you know what it could mean?

A: I need more information: your age, your age at menarche (first period). Menstrual dysfunction can be normal one or two years after menarche.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Irregular Periods
I am 16 years old and I am having problems. I have had a light period for the last 15 days and then it quits for 2 days and start again. Its been like this since last July or August and I don't know what to do. I don't like doctors so I am scared to go to a doctor but I just wanted to know if you could answer my question.

A: This can be normal in the first years after menarche (first period). I need you to send more information and for you to be more specific. Don't be afraid of the gyn, he/she is the one that can help you.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Amennhorea 
I have amennhorea and am fearful of the consequences it will have on my body in the future. I am afraid of being fertile or getting cancer. I decided to try ortho-tricycline (my 4th attempt at the pill). I suffer from extreme headaches a few times daily. I have been on it now for 2 weeks. I am wondering why I always get these headaches with the pill and why my body is doing this. Also, should there be a concern for me that I could be infertile the thought of that scares me to death!

A: Patients on O.C may notice decrease in the amount and length of flow with menses or no flow at all. The pill do not cause infertility. Headaches are mostly due to the pill. Please, do not medicate yourself, get professional help.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Postmenopausal Bleeding 
I am a 45 year old woman I have stop bleeding when I was 40 but this last March I had a menstrual cycle I went to the doctor and he gave me a couple of bottle of pills that should last 18 months What I am worried about is the fact that I have had cancer in the past and I know that I am post menopausal but to have a period after not having one for so long and now I have pelvic pain scares me a lot but the doctor told me to take the pills and come back in a year or so for a pap smear again because the one that I had was normal can you advise me in some way if I have reason to worry or not.

A: Postmenopausal bleeding should be evaluated (D & C, endometrial biopsy) before any treatment.
P.S. Cancer. Where? When?

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only
For more information visit OBGYN.net Menopause & Perimenopause

Q: Heavy Periods
I am 13 years old and have had my period for about a year. My periods are always very, very heavy! Is this normal?

A: First periods are usually irregular. Probably these are your "normal" initial periods. See your OB/Gyn to check hemoglobin and other related issues.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q:Birth Control Pill
I have a question about my birth control pill. I am going on vacation the first week in August and that's when I'm due to start my period. I was wondering if there was any way to delay it or start it a week before my normal schedule? One doctor told me to take my sugar pills a week earlier so I would start a week earlier and I could still be protected from getting pregnant. That would mean skipping a week in my pills so-to-speak. So instead of taking 3 weeks worth of pills I would only be taking 2 weeks then a week worth of sugar pills and then start my new pack of pills right after I finish with my period (sugar pills). Is this ok to do and still have the same exact protection as I do normally? Another doctor told me that if I don't want to have my period then I should just skip my sugar pills and immediately start a new pack of pills. I've tried this though and my body did not like it and I had my period anyway except it was even longer than a normal one. He said if that started to happen again that I should then double up on my pill and take 2 instead of one until the bleeding stopped. Is this a better route to go than the first one? My main concern is being protected against pregnancy and I do not want to bleed at all. Please tell me what I should do. I've gotten 2 separate opinions and now I'm quite confused.
Thank you so much for all your help.

A: I would agree with your 1st doctor if you simply stop taking the OC's after the 2 week, your cycle will start earlier.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

 

Q: A mom's question
I'm not a teen, but a mom of a 12 yr. old. Is there a progression of signs that can warn my daughter of the onset of menses? Such as, a friend has said that her daughters had their first period within two months of underarm hair appearing. I certainly don't remember anything like that for me. Thank you very much.

A: There is a progression of signs yes, but it is not always the same and the amount of time between them is also flexible.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

Q: Pregnant?
I have not been having a normal period it's usually deep red. For about 2 months now it's been real light, almost like brown with a little mucus, do you think I can be pregnant? What could be the cause of that?

A: The first diagnosis to rule out if you are sexually active is pregnancy. Consult your OB ASAP.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Cycle Changes
I am getting in touch with you because of a big change in my menstrual cycle. For the past six months my period has not been normal. For 2 months in a row, I only had mild spotting during my period then on the 3rd month, I had a really heavy period which lasted 5 days which is normal for me.

The next month, I had nothing - not even the spotting. Now this month I have a normal period again. I thought I may have been pregnant and took a pregnancy test but it came out negative. I am not taking any contraceptives and have not in over 2 years. I have gained a lot a weight lately which I have been told can cause disturbances in your menstrual cycle. I have had a pap smear recently and it came up normal as did blood and urine tests. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for the past 2 years and have been unsuccessful. Could you give me some advice as to what could be the cause of this? Thank you

A: Probably weight gain. Please, go see a specialist (Gynecological Endocrinologist).

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Chlamydia & Bleeding 
I am 21 years old and I have had Chlamydia 3 times along with a UTI, after the last treatment I have been bleeding continuously for 2 months with blood clots and a heavy flow. What does this mean? My doctor doesn't seem to know what's wrong with me, I am so scared. Please help me.

A: Bleeding could be related to your infection. You should be checked by another OB (second opinion)

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Tampon Problem
I've had my period for a couple of years and never tried to insert a tampon until now. The problem is that they won't go in. Is it tension or is there something wrong with me and what happens if I decide to have sex with the same thing happen?

A: This is probably just stress. Go see your OB.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Menstrual Period Changes
I am 23 years old and have had normal menstrual cycles until two or three months ago. The cycles seem to last for three days of light spotting when it was previously five days of normal flowing. Lately, the past three weeks, I have extreme spells of dizziness. I do not faint from the dizziness, just feel lightheaded. I trying to avoid going to the doctor if the condition is not serious.

A: This could be a serious condition. Go to the doctor.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Sometimes light, sometimes heavy, is this normal?
I have menstruating for a month and a half. Some days my period is light while other days it is heavy. What could be the problem?

A:I need some more information from you. What is your current age? When was your last menstrual period? Are you using birth control pills?

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Severe menstrual pain
I am a 23 year old woman who is having severe menstrual pains. My periods have been irregular at times. About a year ago, my periods stopped for about 6 months. I am not sexually active, have never had sex nor any medical procedures performed on my genital areas. My pain is so strong that I have to lie in bed all day. I am really afraid to go to the doctor because I have to be naked in front of him. Can you tell me what could be wrong with me? Why do I have such strong pains?

A: The best thing to do is visit an OB/GYN. If you are not comfortable with a male doctor, try a female.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Irregular menstrual cycle
For the past few months, my periods have been 15-21 days apart. They have also been fairly light compared to the way they used to be. They are also triggered by sex (they are started or ended by intercourse). I've never really had a regular cycle, but I'm kind of worried that something serious might be going on. I would really appreciate it if you could let me know if this is serious and what the cause may be.

A: This may or may not be serious, but you must consult with an OB/GYN.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Frequent menstruation and birth control
I have a 28-year-old daughter who is experiencing some menstrual problems and has consulted a gynecologist. Last year, she had abnormal pap smear and had a D&C. Everything turned out to be okay - the problem is for past year now she has been menstruating every two weeks and as a result she has severe anemia. The doctor sent her to another specialist which turned out to be the wrong kind (one who usually deals with patients who lack cycles altogether). My daughter has been on birth control pills for long time, has been given stronger doses of the pill, and also had an ultrasound done The doctors have found nothing. This is causing her a lot of stress. Can you give us an idea what else to check into? She wants to get off the pills and is engaged to be married. There are no children planned for the future. What is the best method for preventing pregnancy?? Should she have her tubes tied? Any advice would be great. A young girl should not be going through this every month It has been going on for too long.

A:Surgical methods are for women who are sure they don't want more children. What about condoms, an IUD or vaginal methods? Your daughter should discuss the options with her OB/GYN.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

 

Q: Spotting before period
I am 6-7 days before the start of my period. I have had a small amount of spotting for one day, and a great deal of mucous discharge (slippery, as if ovulating) for almost a week. I normally do not have discharge like I have had this week, especially for so many days (4-6), and I have never spotted before (except once after a pelvic exam). Also, about a week ago I had moderate-severe pain in my lower right abdomen for about an hour which I dismissed as part of constipation or stress. (I have already had my appendix removed.) Should I see a doctor?

A: Yes, you should definitely be checked by an OB/GYN!

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Spotting between periods
I'm 22 years old and was over my period about four days ago. Tonight I noticed some pink on the toilet paper when I used the restroom. I suppose this is spotting, but I have never in my life experienced it. What could be some of the reasons for this? Should I worry?

A:It doesn't sound like something you should worry about, but you should consult with your OB/GYN.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Pre-period discharge
I am a 34-year-old single mother of one child. Recently I have been having a pre-period discharge where I become very irritated and red. It is of a milky or even cheesy feel, but has no smell. By the time my period arrives it's gone. I don't think it's a yeast infection because I have had several of them in the past and this is much different. I am at a loss of what to do to keep it away. I have found that applying mineral oil to the outer layers of my vagina helps, but every month it still comes back.

A:This is a very interesting observation on your part. If it has no odor, it is then probably hormonally related. Your progesterone levels are higher at this time, and perhaps it is related to that. The only way to know for sure is to have it diagnosed by your health care provider at the time. It may be a variation on yeast if it causes irritation and redness. Another common vaginal infection is Gardnerella, and that sometimes shows up around the menstrual cycle time. Another option is to look at your diet at this time and see if you are eating any differently. For example if you are eating more sugar or even carbohydrates, you might see an increased reaction to these foods. Sometimes the burning is related to more glucose in your body. Try changing the way you eat by eating more protein and less of the sugary carbohydrates. Keep a very careful food journal of what you are eating. Here's a web link that might provide you with more information: Vaginal

Pat Sonnenstuhl, ARNP, CNM, MS, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

Q: Brown discharge
I have had abnormal periods since I started, but in the last 3 months I have had to wear a pad constantly because of a brown discharge (but no period). I had my daughter (naturally) five years ago and that was my last exam. What could be causing this?

A:It is difficult to evaluate this over the internet, and if it has been 5 years since you've had a pap smear, you probably need to get one. You need infections ruled out, and to be sure there aren't any cervical abnormalities that need attention. If this has been going on for three months, it is concerning, and unusual. While waiting for an appointment keep a careful calendar of when you are having the spotting. Here are a couple of links that might be helpful to you:  Vaginal & Cervical Dysplasia

Pat Sonnenstuhl, ARNP, CNM, MS, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

Q: Clearish-whitish vaginal discharge
I am 15 and I have a clearish-whitish vaginal discharge all day long. It doesn't really have a bad smell, but when it stays on a pant liner, or my underwear for a while it has a stuffy odor. It really doesn't happen during the night, but during the day. I always have to wear a pant liner. It doesn't itch or burn. It is just really annoying. The consistency is kind of liquidy/gooey. I have been taking birth control pills for about a year now, for painful periods. I think the brand is Ortho-TriCyclen. Could this have anything to do with it?

A:It is very normal for women to have a white vaginal discharge that doesn't itch or smell. This is just a mixture of the old cells from inside the vagina, mixed with some mucus from the cervix.

Taking birth control pills can sometimes make the discharge increase. The mucus-secreting cells which are usually inside the cervix sometimes appear on the outer surface of the cervix because of the estrogen in the pill.

Any discharge which is yellow or green, or which smells bad, itches or burns should be investigated by your health care provider.

Betsy Hyde, CNM, MSN, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

Q: Brownish discharge following period
I am a 21-year-old female. I noticed a brownish discharge that started a few days after my last period. What are possible reasons for this? I was recently at the OB/GYN and she found no infections.

A:Perhaps this was just then end or your cycle, and just monitor it. You didn't mention whether you were on birth control, and since your provider screened you for infections it possibly was just from some trauma. It probably won't happen again. If so, keep a calendar of these events, and discuss them with your provider. It doesn't seem to be anything concerning.

Pat Sonnenstuhl, ARNP, CNM, MS, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

Q: No period since losing virginity
I'm 22 and lost my virginity about a month ago. There was no barrier, but I did bleed for a week, which I just assumed was my period. I used a condom, and now I'm worried because I haven't had my period since then. Should I be worried?

A: Well, keep track of your cycles. Perhaps you are just anticipating a bit early. Was the bleeding like a period, just following sex? Then you aren't pregnant, unless you have had sex again since then. If you go a week or two past when your next period was due, try a pregnancy test to rule that out. Remember, the range of  menstrual periods can be from 26-35 days, so you might be a bit early yet. A great book that you might find helpful is: Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. Here's an article I wrote you might find helpful: fertility
And, another useful series of web links: Amenorrhea

Pat Sonnenstuhl, ARNP, CNM, MS, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

Q: Amenorrhea
I was looking at your website and read an article about amenorrhea. I am going to be sixteen in about 3 months and have yet to have my first period. I have already started puberty (according to my doctor and from what I can tell) and every time I have gone in for a physical, she says "you should have your period this year", but it's never happened. Got any help for me?

A:If one does not have a period within a year (2 at the most) of beginning breast development, this would be considered abnormal and should be evaluated.

R. Daniel Braun, MD, OBGYN.net Co-Chair Young Woman Editorial Advisory Board
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Q: Lots of triggering factors for starting period
I am 20 years old. I started my period when I was 13 years old, I don't use any birth control nor am I sexually active. I started my period this month on day 26 (normal for me) and I have been bleeding for eight days. This is unusual for me because I normally menstruate for five days. The blood is bright red and the flow is not as heavy as it usually is. I work for my dad where I lift 50lb bags of feed. After I did that one day I started spotting so I did not lift anymore. Could lifting heavy things play a factor? I have been under a lot of stress lately after a break-up and was wondering if that could also affect my cycle. Also, when I went out jogging the bleeding started again and it was bright red. I am planning my first trip to the ob/gyn in June. Should I call now or is this normal?

A:I think your situation is unusual, and keep a very close calendar of when you had bleeding, and how much. There perhaps is a stress element involved, but I doubt the heavy lifting did anything. It is perhaps just a bad month, and might resolve itself. I was having trouble understanding how much bleeding you were having. I'm sure a visit to your provider will be helpful, to rule out anything unusual. As you aren't sexually active, and you can rule out certain vaginal infections, and pregnancy, I see no reason to push your appointment up. However if the bleeding gets heavy, and you are concerned, call and get in sooner. Your provider might suggest putting you on the birth control pill to regulate your periods. Hope this was helpful.

Pat Sonnenstuhl, ARNP, CNM, MS, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

Q: No period since Depo-Provera
I am a 25-year-old female and the mother of two. Back in November I was given a Depo-Provera shot and had very bad bleeding for 3 months. The doctor told me this was normal. When it was time for me to get my next injection I decided against it because of the bleeding I had experienced following the first one. I should have started my period again in early March and I still have not. I have been having severe cramping and I constantly feel like I am about to start. I am having no symptoms of pregnancy, but I took 2 EPT tests today anyway. Both were negative. I was just wondering if you have any ideas of what could possibly be causing these symptoms?

A:Thanks for your question. It is very common to bleed on Depo, and then not bleed, sometimes for months. So, nothing is wrong. At some point if you continue to not have a period, a provider might want to give you something called Provera to stimulate a period. The key thing now is to use something so you don't get pregnant while waiting for a period. If you really get concerned, so your health care provider, but you can wait another month or two, as this is very common. 

Pat Sonnenstuhl, ARNP, CNM, MS, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

 

Q: A 16-year-old's period irregularities
I am a 16-year-old female and I am trying to figure some things out about myself. I run track, and lately my period has been late. My last period was two weeks late, but it was a normal heavy period. This month, I was late and only had brown colored discharge for a day or so, and red for about an hour, and that is it. This irregularity is also accompanied by a very swollen region below the belly button like where the female reproductive organs are. It looks very bloated and fat, and its like a bulge where I normally have a relatively flat stomach. On one side it feels like there is a little bump. It has been accompanied by feeling like I need to have a bowel movement all the time, and just totally feeling fat. What could be causing this?

A: Lots of factors contribute to the various symptoms you describe. Keeping track of your cycles is an excellent way to approach your menstrual cycle, as if you talk to your provider about your concerns, a calendar in front of you will be very helpful. First of all, you didn't say when you started your periods. The first several years are very erratic, and it is hard to know what to expect. Also, in general your ovaries alternate ovulation, so one month might be different than the other. The amount of your period is determined by the hormonal action during the month leading up to your period. Also, the 'normal' range for periods is 26-35 days, so you might just normally have 'longer' cycles, not a 'late' period. This is why tracking your cycles is so helpful. Also, if you have ever been on birth control pills, this will make your cycles very regular and predictable. Then when you go off the pill, sometimes the periods will be irregular again. You might find this article and the book references useful: fertility  Also of interest: Conditions The bloating you are experiencing might be part of your hormonal changes, and is important to track also. It is very difficult to evaluate what you describe by email. You might schedule an appointment with your provider to discuss you specific concerns, especially after tracking your cycles for a few months. Some women notice more bloating after eating certain foods, and this can change as your hormones change throughout the month. Some women also notice changes in their bowels just before their periods, and it is felt this is also related to the increasing prostiglandins just before a period. So, keeping a good journal is the first step, tracking things for a few months, and then discussing your findings with your health care provider. It does not sound like anything you describe is an emergency, so tracking things for a few months will be very helpful.

Pat Sonnenstuhl, ARNP, CNM, MS, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only.

Q: Severe menstrual cramps
I'm 16 years old and have very severe menstrual cramps. I have cramps and a heavy flow for 7 to 10 days. I have talked with my doctor and the school nurse and both have said I need to see a gynecologist. I have taken and tried everything. What do you recommend?

A:You should have a complete physical exam and seek the advice of a gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Stress, exercise, and late periods
I am twenty-three years old, I have never had sex, but have come very close a number of times. My period is two weeks late. Could this be from the incredible amount of stress I have been under in the last month? I have also started exercising regularly in the last month. My periods have never been very regular except in the last seven months or so, with the exception of this month. I know that technically it is a very slight possibility of my being pregnant from how close I have been to having sex, it seems very unlikely though. I am just wondering if the pregnancy thing is a bigger possibility than I am thinking or is this late period just because of my stress and change in exercise habits?

A:Stress and exercise can disturb your cycle. In your case, pregnancy is unlikely but not impossible.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Vaginal bleeding between periods
I am a 27 year old female. My problem is vaginal bleeding between periods. I have had one child (cesarean section). I had a history of a very large ovarian cyst during my first pregnancy (grapefruit size). For the past two months, I have had scanty, light bleeding between periods. The blood is very red in color and is accompanied by slight cramping. I know that it could be ovulation related, stress related, or even a side effect of possible pregnancy (which could be a factor). My husband and I are not using any birth control at this time. I have contacted my physician, but was told to wait it out and see what next month held in store.

A:You need a thorough exam and lab work. Get a second personal opinion.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Breakthrough bleeding
I am 24 years old and have been experiencing some irregular bleeding for 2 days now. I have been taking the same birth control pill for three years without a problem and haven't missed a pill. I am mid-cycle and noticed a heavy flow starting (I just had my period 2 weeks ago) with huge clots (about quarter-sized). I feel very weak and one day prior to this, I had a fainting spell at work. I blacked out for a few seconds and was very light-headed and weak all day. I took a pregnancy test just to rule out a miscarriage and it was negative. Again, I have been taking the same pill for three years without the problem of breakthrough bleeding. I have a family history of ovarian cysts, yet have never been diagnosed with them.

A:A complete history, physical exam and lab work is necessary to evaluate abnormal uterine bleeding. You should seek the advice of your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Can stress disturb your cycle?
I am 17 years old and I have been on the birth control pill (Ortho Novum) for almost a year and a half. I take my pills very regularly every morning, but my period is 5 days late. My boyfriend and I do have unprotected sex, but we are both monogamous. I had premenstrual symptoms of sore breasts, but it went away almost totally. I have been under some stress at school and I also just found out I have mild dysplasia so I have been worrying about that, too. Two days before my period was to start, I forgot to take my pill one morning, but I took it that night. Could that have messed up my cycle, too? Please tell me if I should be worried.

A:Stress can disturb your cycle, but anyway... get a blood pregnancy test.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: No period following pregnancy
I gave birth to my daughter six and half months ago and I am still breastfeeding her. I thought my period should be back by now, but I have not had it yet. I did a home pregnancy test and it came out negative. My husband and I have started having sex without condoms, but he withdraws every time before he ejaculates. Please give me some advice.

A:If you are breastfeeding regularly you will not get your cycle back. On the other hand, breastfeeding is not a safe birth control method. Go see a doctor for advice on a safe birth control method to use while you are breastfeeding.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Is an irregular cycle a sign of infertility?
I previously menstruated every 28-32 days. About a year ago, it started to become regular at 28 days. However, after being regular for 8 months, I started being irregular again. Sometimes even going up to 36 days. Is there anything wrong? Is this a sign of infertility? I am also trying to get pregnant at the moment.

A:You should see a gynecologist for a complete physical exam and information.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Prolonged post-partum menstruation
I gave birth to a baby girl by C-section three months ago. I just recently started my first period since the delivery. I started taking my birth control pills (Triphasil 21) on that same day. I have recently finished my first pack of birth control pills but I am still menstruating. I am due to start my second pack of birth control pills in 4 days. My period is about as heavy as a regular day 2 period. No clots or cramping. Is this normal? My periods were normal after the birth of my first child. The first period post partum only lasted 4 days and was normal for three years. I was wondering if my body is just getting used to the birth control pills, or if I should be concerned.

A:No need to be concerned. Talk with your gynecologist about your problems.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Irregular cycle and overweight
I'm 21 years old and am sexually active in a monogamous relationship. I'm concerned about my period. My last one was about a week and a half early It began with spotting and lasted about 7 days. My normal period starts on the 21st day and lasts for 4-5 days. Now it's just not coming. It's been 30 days since the last day of my last period. I took a pregnancy test and it came out negative. I am overweight and I have just started a diet. Can that be the cause of my unusual period? Might there be something else? Should I see my doctor or wait and see?

A:Your weight problem may be related. You should definitely see a doctor (endocrinologist).

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

 

Q: My period is 2 weeks late!
I am 2 weeks late in my cycle. I have performed a home pregnancy test which came back negative. I am never late. I have no cramping or any other normal symptoms for menstruation. Do you know what might have caused the lack of my period?

A:Get a blood pregnancy test and if it is negative, talk to your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Menstrual cycle following miscarriage
How long after a miscarriage should I expect to start menstruating?

A:Usually about 6 weeks after a miscarriage.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: First menstruation
My 11-year-old daughter recently started her period. Then she didn't have one again until two months later (which I know is normal). But after she had her second period, she bled for a few days, then stopped for a few days, and started again for a few days, then stopped for a few days, and she just started again for the third time in three weeks. Is this normal?

A:It does not sound like anything serious. In young adolescents the first menstrual periods are irregular for a couple of years. It is what we call "dysfunctional bleeding". Take your daughter to a gynecologist for more info.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: What could cause me to miss my period?
I am 24 years old and have had irregular periods in the past. For the past 6-7 months they have been regular. However, this month, I did not have a period. I took two pregnancy tests and they came out negative. What can be other reasons that I didn't have a period? Is there a problem if I don't have a period for few months? In the past I didn't have my period for ten months. I don't want to take hormone pills to regulate my periods (because of the side effects).

A:Your lack of period may be due to anovulatory (not ovulating) cycles. Talk with your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: No period following D&C
I found out that I had miscarried at my 3 month checkup (was 14 weeks, had miscarried around 11 weeks). I had a D&C and fairly heavy bleeding immediately afterward. The bleeding had slowed down by the next day and stopped completely by the day after that. The following Sunday I had a little bright red bleeding (Dr. said this didn't sound like a problem-was probably just passing tissue that was left behind). I was told I would start my period 4-6 weeks after the D&C and could start trying tyo conceive again after one normal period. After 6 weeks, I still hadn't started my period so I took a pregnancy test which was negative. I called my doctor and he didn't sound concerned. He said to give it a couple more weeks and if there was still nothing to call him back. After almost 9 weeks, I called him again and he prescribed 10mg of Provera for 5 days. Four days after taking the last Provera, I had severe cramps in my lower abdomen and lower back and heaviness when I sat down to use the bathroom. A few days later I spotted very little, but cramped all week (though not as severely as in the beginning). After almost 13 weeks I took another pregnancy test which was also negative. I called the doctor and told him I still hadn't had a normal period (told him of the spotting) and he prescribed 50mg of Clomid for 5 days. Not even a week after taking the Clomid, I had the severe cramping in my lower abdomen and back, and heaviness when going to the bathroom. This lasted for 2 1/2 days. Intercourse was very painful and I had some brown spotting. Is this supposed to be a period? My doctor hasn't said anything about tests or anything to find out why I haven't had a period. He didn't do any blood work after the D&C to check my hormone levels. Is this normal?

A:No, it isn't normal. Ask your doctor about ultrasonography, hysteroscopy or hysterosalpingography. Also, you should definitely get a second opinion.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Having a nearly constant period
I am 20 years old. I have been having really irregular cycles. I have never been "normal" but about 4 months ago I skipped my period for 2 months. Then I had one heavier one. Now for about the past month and a half, I have been having my period constantly. It will last for about 12 days, then recur about a week later. I have not changed my eating habits or introduced any major lifestyle changes such as stress or exercise. What could possibly be causing this?

A:You are probably having anovulatory cycles (when the "egg" does not come out from the ovary). Go see a gynecologist to discuss causes and treatment.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Skipping periods
I'm 20 years old, a virgin, and I've never been to a gynecologist. My periods have always been regular - until within the last year or so. That's when I started skipping periods (I seemed to have 2 or 3 normal cycles, and then I'd skip one). I have never really been in any pain - even the cramping is minimal. In January I had a normal cycle, and in February it looked like it would be a normal cycle, too. But I bled for 15 days, from the 15th to the 30th. Some days were heavier than others, but it didn't seem to have a pattern; I'd have one heavy day, then a light day, then a medium day, for example. The next cycle I skipped altogether. Do you think both my ovaries could be ovulating at the same time? Is that possible? Does this sound serious?

A:You are probably having anovulatory cycles. It doesn't seem to be serious but you should go to a gynecologist ASAP.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Period that has lasted 20+ days
I have a 14-year-old daughter who has been having her period for 20 days now. She started having her period at about age 12. I was wondering if this is normal, or should I be concerned and have her looked at? Sometimes the flow is heavy and sometimes light.

A:Adolescent bleeding is usually associated with lack of ovulation (anovulation). Following menarche (first menstrual period) the female reproductive system continues to mature for approximately 3-4 years. Take your daughter to a gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Irregular period
For the past 5 months I have had an irregular period. The latest I have ever been is a month and a half, but now I am 2 months late. I have taken 3 pregnancy tests which have all come out negative. I have discolored discharge, at times it is yellow and sometimes pinkish or brown (like old blood). Is there any possibility that I am pregnant or that I may have some kind of infection?

A:The specific cause of your irregular periods (excluding pregnancy) can only be determined by a thorough history, physical exam (including gyn) and laboratory, radiographic tests.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Long cycles with heavy bleeding
I am 34 years old. I had a D&C last May because of heavy bleeding for 28 days straight. I have been doing fine until the last few months. One month I had no period. One month I bled for 2 weeks and this month I have bled for 27 days straight. The first few days it was very heavy with some clotting and now it is very light. I'm starting to feel really tired so I am taking iron pills. I have no cramping. What could be causing me to have so much trouble?

A:What was the D&C pathologist report? Usually the cause is what we call "Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding" (benign). You should ask your gynecologist about this.

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Q: Cycling for 20+ days
I delivered twins in August 1999 and when I went for my six week check up, I was still cycling. This was because before I left the hospital I received my first injection. They prescribed birth control pills for me and the nurse gave me a four month supply. I took them all and when they were gone, two weeks later I started cycling again and I bled for twenty days! The next month I bled for three weeks! I went to the doctor and I told her about the pills. She said that was okay, but now I'm having irregular periods. What's the problem with me? Is it the birth control pills or is it me?

A:Spotting and bleeding between menstrual periods (usually for months) are common side effects with low dose oral contraceptives.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Periods only every 6 to 7 months
My 17-year-old daughter has periods only every 6 to 7 months. When they arrive they are very heavy and painful. Our doctor told us she obviously wasn't ovulating but not to worry, when the time came she could be helped to ovulate, and that was it. My daughter is now showing signs of anxiety about her future fertility and I would like to know what the possible causes are of the current problem.

A:The anovulatory patient may complain of lack of menses, irregular cycles or heavy flow. You should ask your gynecologist about causes of anovulation, exams and treatment.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

 

Q: Irregular periods with pain
I am 21 years old and have always had irregular periods. My first period was when I was about 11 or 12. My last regular cycle was a couple of months ago and this month I spotted for a week w/pain on my lower right side. I usually have bad cramps but this was different since it was concentrated on my right side. I went to the doctor (it was my first gyn exam ever) and they said it looked like there was slight cervical bleeding. Also, I am a virgin so there is no chance of an infection from sex. They did a pap smear and are going to call if there are any other problems. Could you offer me any sort of advice in the meantime?

A:No need to worry. Just wait for exam results...and talk with your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Brownish discharge prior to menstruation
I'm a 22-year-old woman and I have been married for three years. I am not taking any kind of medication and I'm not on the pill. My periods have been relatively regular since I got married, but lately I've been a few days late sometimes and I have been having a brownish discharge a few days before my real period starts. I even get some pelvic pain like when I'm on my period. Then my real period starts. Should I worry that I'm spotting so much before my period? What does this mean? Should I go to a doctor?

A:Maybe it isn't a serious problem, but you should go to a gynecologist to get a complete physical and pelvic exam as soon as you can.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Could the absence of periods cause fertility problems?
I am 24 and I started having periods at 17. They seemed to be normal then, but I have not had one for about 4 years. I have never had a pap smear. My mom had the same irregular cycle and was told she could not have kids. She had me at age 41, and then sadly died of cancer at age 65. What could be wrong with me? I am getting married soon and we want kids. Do you think the fertility problems will run in the family?

A:You should see a gynecologist as soon as possible to check out what your problem is.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: I just became sexually active...
I am a 19-year-old female and I recently became sexually active. Ever since then my periods have been exactly 38 days apart and very light versus my usual heavy and painful periods. This month, my period was very light and lasted 3-4 days. Usually my breasts are painful when I start my period, but that goes away after it is over. This month, about a week and a half after I ended my period my breasts became tender again. I heard that when you become sexually active this can happen. Is that true? Do I need to worry about being pregnant because my periods have been off and I now have breast tenderness?

A:Breasts can become tender during menstruation. Menstrual periods are 28 days apart with normal variations of about 7 days. Deviations from these norms are not uncommon.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: My period is two months late!
My period so far is two months late. The last time my period was irregular was 5 years ago. Other than that, I was always on time. I went to the gynecologist for a usual check up and my doctor said everything looked fine. And here I am, two months late for my period and clueless. My boyfriend and I used to be sexually active but are not presently and have not had intercourse for several months. My mother recently called my doctor to ask him about my condition and he said that due to my height/size I may not produce enough hormones (I'm 5'1" and 94 lbs.) IF that could be a reason, how can I produce more hormones? Eat better? Exercise?

A:Exercise programs, stress and some medical conditions can cause skipped menstrual periods. Go to your gynecologist for a complete exam.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Irregular periods after having four children
I am 22 years old with four children. After my last child my periods have been irregular. When I do get my period it is heavy and I'll usually have bloody discharge after it ends. Lately, I've had a lot of discharge (white or clear and watery, sometimes pink). It's been almost 2 months since I've had any kind of period. I'm cramping and my breasts are tender like I'm going to start, but nothing. I've taken 6 pregnancy tests and I'm not pregnant. Does it have anything to do with the distance of my children (5yr, 3yr, 1yr,and 7mon)? My last two children are ten months apart.

A:I don't think it has anything to do with the spacing of your children. Weight loss, exercise programs, and stress are some common causes of skipped menstrual periods.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: My girlfriend's period is late
My girlfriend is 18 and has had regular menses and has never missed a period ever since age 15 when she was given progestin in 2 doses of 10 pills to regulate her periods. She has been on the pill for almost 4 months now and is worried about not having her period yet.

A:It depends on various factors:
Oral contraceptives are highly effective, but patients beginning oral contraceptives commonly notice a decrease in the amount of flow and sometimes no flow at all.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Losing excessive blood during period
My girlfriend and I have never had intercourse so she hasn't had to go to a gynecologist yet (at least she told me that's when you start to go). I was just informed that she has been having problems with her period. Normally her period lasts 4-6 days but lately hers has been lasting three weeks. The doctor she went to said that there was nothing she can do about it. She is only 16 and has just been told that she no longer has a good chance at ever conceiving a child because of the amount of blood she loses. I am very worried about her, and I want to help in any way possible.

A:Want to help in any way? Just take her to another gynecologist ASAP.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Periods every other month
I have always had my period every other month. When I started taking birth control pills it started every month on the dot. Now I have stopped and my periods are coming every other month again. I am 20 years old.

A:The pills helped you to regulate your cycle. Once you stop taking them, your cycle will become irregular again.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Is my hormone level too high?
I'm 18 years old and have never had a period, except once when I was 15 years old. I've been to a regular gynecologist and he said everything was normal. He was about to put me on the pill to start my cycle. I'm a virgin!

Today I went to another gynecologist and he told me my FDS hormones were too high and I can't have children. I made an appointment to get a second opinion, but I don't know what to do.

A:I suggest keeping the appointment for the second opinion.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

 

Q: Should I go on the pill to regulate my cycle?
I have had my period for 2 months and a week now and I don't know what to do. A while back I had my period for 3 months straight and eventually it stopped on its own. I saw a gynecologist  about it and he recommended that I go on the pill, however my mother didn't exactly allow me to since I was 15. Now I am 18 and can legally go the pill on my own without my mother's consent, so I guess my question is should I just go and buy the pill to regulate my period so that it will finally stop, or should I wait till I see a PA next month? Also I am anemic so I don't know if there is a special type of pill I should be taking since I am losing a lot of iron. However, I do take an iron supplement every morning because of this. I know you have a lot of other questions from other people but if you could get back to me as soon as possible I would really appreciate it. Thank you for your time to read this.

A:You should see a gynecologist so he/she can recommend the best pill for you after a complete checkup.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Period for more than a month
I am 21 years old, and I have had my period for the past month straight...no break. My period has been moderate to heavy and red (fresh). My period was irregular before, for example, it would last a week, but then I would have dark light bleeding for 2 days or so. I took the pill (about 2 years ago) for a year given by my doctor. I have been sexually active, but that hasn't happened obviously for the past month or so. I have been feeling tired, but I attribute that to stress from school and work. Please help me in anyway you can...Thank you!

A:You should have a complete physical and gynecological exam, probably a D&C and some lab tests.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Late, light period
I have a concern about my period. It usually lasts about 5 days but this month I got it a day before I was supposed to and had it only for two days. I want to know if this could be a sign that I am pregnant. Please help.

A:If a blood pregnancy test is positive, you may be pregnant.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Rapid menstrual cycle
I am seventeen and I got my period at age ten. My periods have always been irregular and quite heavy and have even disappeared for months at a time. I started on birth control about six months ago and since then I have two to three light periods a month. Should I be concerned?

A:You should only have one period a month. See your gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Continuous menstruation
I write to you about my daughter, who is now at the age of 17. She started her menstruation period at the age of 15 and a half. She is normally developed, small breasts, but with female forms. In the beginning she had an almost normal menstruation period, - 28 days and bleeding for 5-7 days. But after some months the bleedings became more irregular, and now, after a year and a half she is "menstruating" almost continuously. We have seen a doctor who tested her blood values, and except for anemia (which we now treat), they seemed to be normal. We have also tried acupuncture, which did not help. We are now going to see a gynecologist, but I am afraid that he will recommend P-pills, which I am afraid to start with as long as the hormone system seems to be out of balance. Can you say anything about this condition and what kind of treatment it is likely to start with?

A:She should probably go to a gynecologist (endocrinologist) and have a complete evaluation.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Period lasting too long
I am 15 1/2 years old. I started my period when I was 13. Lately my period has been very irregular. I have been on my cycle for 3 1/2 weeks now. This has happened before, but I didn't really pay attention to it. I told my mother and she said I need to be on birth control. But I don't want to gain weight. When I go to the rest room it's like big globs of blood come out. It shocks me sometimes. I am not sexually active and don't plan on being anytime soon. My mother said she was going to take me to the doctor, but I don't want to go because I feel uncomfortable. The reason I feel uncomfortable is because my vagina has a slight odor to it. I know a period doesn't smell good, but I just wouldn't feel comfortable going to the doctor while on it. So can you please give me any advice on what I should do.

A:See your gynecologist after your period is over. It is important that you get checked out.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Periods...
I am a 17 year old female from FL. My question is concerning my periods. I started when I was 13 but I only get one or two a year. Also, when I do get one I bleed very heavily. There are also times when an almost black discharge comes from me when I am supposed to start my period, but no bleeding. It has a strong odor and it scares me. It also scares me to go to an ob/gyn because I'm afraid of what he or she might say. I am still a virgin so I am also afraid of someone seeing me and touching me in that area. That's why I am writing to you. I was hoping you could diagnose my symptoms over the computer, which you probably won't be able to do. Any information you can give me would be a great help.

A:You are right. The best I can recommend is to have complete physical (including gyn) exam.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Abnormal Periods
I am 27 years of age. My period, for the most part, comes every 24 days. Last month I got my period 21 days after my previous period. My flow is usually light & lasts for 4 to 5 days. My period last month only lasted about 3 days. I am not on the pill, but my husband uses condoms. I didn't think I was pregnant but I couldn't understand why my period was abnormal. I took a home pregnancy test about 5 days after my period. The result was negative. I waited another 4 days & took another one, and that was negative. I took another home pregnancy test this past Monday & that was also negative! I woke up this morning & I got my period. It only has been 18 days since my last period on Feb 14th ! I took another test today & that was negative. I called my gynecologist & she didn't have time to talk to me, but she wants to see me in two weeks. I am very confused & worried. All I want to know is if I am pregnant or not, which I don't think I am. What else could it be?

A:Usually menstrual periods are 28 days apart, with normal variations of about 7 days (deviations from these norms can occur).

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Frequency of normal discharge
I am 20 years old and I have always had a pasty like discharge everyday. I have heard that it is normal for women to have discharges but is it normal to have one everyday?

A:This could be normal for you. If you don't have a malodorous discharge and if it doesn't itch, you should probably not worry.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

Q: Spotting
I am 23 and have been on the birth control pill for 5 years. I just finished my period and 1 week's worth of my pills and I noticed some blood-tinged spotting. It is very light and not like my usual menstrual flow. I am worried. What could this be?

A:It could mean that the hormone isn't being properly absorbed, but you should see a gynecologist.

P.S. Remember that this is for educational purposes only

 

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