Dear Sammy

Dear Sammy,

 

I haven’t gotten my period for almost two months now, and I’m concerned. Pregnancy is not the case because I haven’t had sexual intercourse in almost a year. What is wrong with my body? Should I be concerned?

 

Sincerely,

 

Period Problems

Dear Period Problems,

 

While Mother Nature can be wild at times, and very much unpredictable, women often find themselves wondering “where is she?” and “why is she late?” The lack of a period, also known as amenorrhea, is not considered to be a health condition on its own, however, it may signify that another health issue may exist. Due to the number of reasons for an absence of menstruation, amenorrhea rarely indicates a serious health condition. Reasons for amenorrhea can range from exercising too much to being stressed out. Depending on what may be causing your lack of a period, a health care provider can help suggest a variety of options for regulating your menstrual cycle. It is recommended that you contact your health care provider when you’ve missed more than three consecutive periods.

It’s important to note that there are two types of amenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary amenorrhea is characterized by not having menstruated by age 16, which affects approximately one percent of women. Secondary amenorrhea, which is characterized by at least three missed periods, which affects four percent of women, not including pregnant individuals. Secondary amenorrhea may be caused by some of the following:

  • Breast-feeding
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress/anxiety
  • Some medications
  • Significant changes in weight
  • Having a low body weight
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Exercising too much
  • Contraceptives
  • Pituitary tumor
  • Uterine scarring
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (when a woman under age 40                 runs out of ovarian eggs)

List adapted from Amenorrhea(link is external)

from the Mayo Clinic.

 

Although you mention that pregnancy is not an option because you haven’t had sexual intercourse in a year, if you have had close sexual contact, even without penetration, it may still have been possible for semen to enter the vagina. To rule out pregnancy completely, you may want to consider getting a pregnancy test. Another factor that may give you more insight, is asking close female family members if they have a history of missing periods. In addition, tracking your period is often useful for determining the length of your menstrual cycle as well as finding any changes that may occur.

Talking about this issue with a health care provider may be helpful for understanding the causes and getting your period back on track. Your physician may help determine the cause of the missing periods and can recommend many tips to help regulate your menstrual cycle. Some of these may include maintaining a healthy body weight and developing healthy coping mechanisms for stress. Also, consider adding some of the following to your routine — regular exercise, meditation, yoga, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and social support from friends and family.

While Mother Nature can be frustrating at times, it is important to prioritize your health and familiarize yourself with what your body needs to understand the cause(s) behind the delay.

Sammy

 

“Go Ask Sammy” is a resource for readers to anonymously receive reliable, accurate, and culturally competent health information. Ask your anonymous question to goasksammy@mail.com

 

Advice Approved by the Salisbury University Student Health Services

 

MeganAbout the Author: Megan Mahedy

Megan Mahedy is the founder and health columnist for the “Student Health Column” in Salisbury University’s “The Flyer” Newspaper. As a senior at Salisbury University in the Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program majoring in Health Science and double minoring in Gerontology and Psychology, Megan works to provides her readers with accurate, culturally competent, and reliable health information. With plans to graduate a year early from SU, she has also studied as a scholar at Columbia University’s Epidemiology and Population Health Institute this past summer in New York City, New York.

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