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Late Period, Negative Pregnancy Test, No symptoms
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mvan2883 posted:
I had my son 9 months ago, and when I became pregnant with him, knew before my missed period (cramping, heightened sense of smell, breast tenderness). I am 6 days late, and took a pregnancy test which came back negative and have none of the symptoms I felt with my first child. Could I still be pregnant? What could other possibilities be?
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Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear mvan: Once pregnancy has been ruled out, the most common reason for a menstrual pattern like you have described 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 most times.

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/late 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 numerous: low thyroid, pituitary problems, ovarian cysts, physical stressors (eg sudden increases in exercise, crash dieting), emotional stressors (problems with partners, finances), increased body weight, anorexia, rotating shifts at work, etc. If your cycle does not reset itself naturally, or if you develop pelvic pain (eg ovarian cyst), you should see your OB/GYN or clinic.

Congrats on your new son!!

Yours,
Jane


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