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For the week of: 4/17/99 Dr. Angela Martin

by Dr. Angela S. Martin, M.D.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Women's Medical Group

 

Question: "I am 38 years old and haven't a cycle in three months. I know I'm not pregnant, but I am worried about what's wrong".

 

Answer: Skipping periods may occur at any time in a woman's menstrual cycle. Pregnancy would be the first thing a physician would want to check for, but if you are sure you are not pregnant, the absence of menstruation might indicate a hormonal imbalance or beginning signs of menopause.

If your mother went through menopause in her late 30's or early 40's, then you would be at risk for early menopause. This can be diagnosed by a blood test called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which is elevated in menopause.

Absent menstruation can also be due to medications, such as oral contraceptives or Depo-provera, which can make the lining of the uterus very thin. It is not serious, and sometimes a change in medications can bring back the period.

Other conditions, such as thyroid disease and pituitary problems can result in stoppage of cycles. There are usually other symptoms suggestive of these disorders.

In addition sudden changes in weight or poor nutrition can also cause absent periods. And significant emotional stress can be a culprit.

It would be best to check with your gynecologist , especially if there is no period for 6 months.

by Dr. Angela S. Martin, M.D.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Women's Medical Group

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