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    Strange menstrual cycle! Help!
    KatieKatt42 posted:
    My cycle has been strange for the past few months. On September 1st my sister came to visit while she was on her period, mine came-early- and lasted for about 5 days and then stopped. On September 23rd I started my period again, it lasted until October 3rd, which is longer than usual for me. I had occasional spotting during the month of October which looked more like a pink tinge when I went to the restroom and wiped. Never had a full period in October, took a pregnancy test near the end of October- it was negative-

    Now this month I had "spotting" on November 16th- again only when I wiped. I had the same thing yesterday which I assumed was the start of my period since it would be "on time". Today-nothing- I am also feeling achy and cramping. I am 29 years old and I have one child who is 4 years old.

    Irregular periods are not unusual for me and its not uncommon for me to skip a month due to stress, but this is too weird. My last pap smear was done in July of 2011 and everything was fine. I am going to see my obgyn after the 5th, I was just hoping for some insight on what this could be.
    miss_em responded:
    Did you find out the issue? I'm having similar symptoms. Thx
    Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
    Dear miss_em and KatieKatt: The most common reason for a menstrual pattern like you have described (once pregnancy is ruled out) is not having an ovulation every month. In a normal cycle, estrogen is produced all month. Estrogen is responsible for building up the lining of your uterus so you have something to shed each month. The good news is that you have enough estrogen to make a lining that does shed.

    In a normal cycle, progesterone production increases following ovulation and release of an egg.. Progesterone "stabilizes" the uterine lining in preparation for a possible implantation of a new pregnancy. If you are not pregnant that month the levels of estrogen and progesterone fall, triggering the release of the uterine lining—your period.

    So, if you do not ovulate, the estrogen build up of the lining continues, but without the usual ovulation associated progesterone. Thus, the hormone levels don't decline, and the lining stays up inside the uterus—your missed period. Alternatively, the built up lining can begin to shed on its own creating erratic bleeding patterns which are usually "too-light" or super heavy and prolonged.

    Causes for not ovulating are multifold: thyroid problems, pituitary problems, ovarian cysts, physical stressors (eg sudden increases in exercise, crash dieting), emotional stressors (problems with boyfriends/girlfriends, finances), increased body weight, anorexia, rotating shifts at work, etc. KatieKatt, you mentioned that irregular periods are not unusual for you, and that stress seems to trigger cycle changes. When you see your GYN they can check you for an ovarian cyst, low thyroid or other medical conditions which might be culprits.

    KatieKatt42 replied to Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP's response:

    Thank you so much for your reply! Its extremely helpful information and eases my mind. I'm beginning to suspect thyroid issues because I have other symptoms that relate to hypothyroidism. I have an appointment with my obgyn on the 6th and will hopefully get it straightened out. Happy Holidays

    Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP replied to KatieKatt42's response:
    Katie: Great, thanks for the feedback. Let us know what you find out. It might help miss_em as well.


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