Skipping a period can be a bit worrying for girls, especially if you are normally very regular. If you are having an ‘oh-god-i-am-late’ moment we figured you are probably pretty stressed, so let us shed a little light on the skipped period situation.
There are a lot of reasons why your period may have decided to bludge and not come see you this month. If you have been sexually active and didn’t use contraception (c’mon, you should know better!), and your period is MIA then head to the local pharmacy and get a home pregnancy test because you might just be pregnant (eek). But just before you go shopping for maternity clothing, nappies and a pram did you know that there are other reasons why your menstrual cycle may not have arrived? Stress and other lifestyle factors could also put your period on the missing items list.
For about 2 years after getting your first period, you might find that your ‘regular visitor’ aint so regular at all, this is normal and is just down to your period adjusting to your body clock. Ok so not pregnant – check, not a period newbie – check, still not getting your period – check! Let’s chat about some of the more common diseases that can cause your ‘aunt flow’ to go AWOL.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Whoa that name is quite a mouthful, but it’s an illness you should defs know about as it affects heaps of girls and young women all over Australia. PCOS (in a nutshell) messes with the hormones that control your period. In girls with PCOS the ovaries (ovaries make hormones related to your period and also release the eggs into the womb – pretty important don’t ya think) produce higher than normal amounts of hormones that regulate your period. PCOS can also cause your eggs to develop into little cysts that form on your ovaries causing even more hassles. Because girls with PCOS sometimes don’t release an egg each month, it’s normal for them to have skipped periods.
How will you know if you have PCOS? Well there are a few signs, for one, you may have skipped your period this month or skipped some periods during the year. Secondly, as we said earlier PCOS causes more hormones to be produced by your ovaries than normal and this can cause some pretty icky things to happen to your body. You might notice some extra fuzz (facial hair) growing suddenly, or more pimples than you are used to. If you notice these strange things happening to your body, you should chat to your mum and get her to make an appointment with your Gynae sooner rather than later as PCOS can cause some major issues with your body if not treated. Unfortunately there is no ‘complete cure’ for PCOS. However your doc will treat the symptoms that you have.
Eating disorders (Anorexia and Bulimia)
With all the pressures from TV, magazines and other media to look practically starved to death, some girls turn to things like eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia. Anorexia is pretty much when a girl just stops eating to try lose weight, she might not eat for days at a time or eats so little that her body starts to shut down. Even when a person with anorexia loses heaps of weight they still think they look fat. Bulimia is when someone overeats dramatically (called binge eating) and then goes to the bathroom to make themselves vomit. Both these conditions are mega serious and super bad for you. Eating disorders can mess up the body so badly that a lot of normal things just stop happening – like your period.
Your body needs a certain amount of fat (normally 22% of your body weight) to function well. If your body fat percentage drops much below 22%, your body will stop producing the hormones that regulate your periods, and they can become less regular or stop all together. If you suffer from an eating disorder, your body will stop having periods so it can save the blood and protein that are normally used up in the process of having a period (that’s how badly your body is craving nutrients). Eating disorders are serious business, and if you think that one of your friends might be suffering from Anorexia or Bulimia it’s important to let someone close to them know, like a teacher or a parent.
Other nasties causing you to skip a period
So apart from these heavy hitters there are other illnesses’ that can make your period skip a month here or there. If you get a bad case of the flu or a really icky stomach bug you might skip your period for the month. There is a pretty nasty sickness called Turner’s syndrome, which can affect your body in a heap of ways; it can stunt your growth and also stop your ovaries from developing (it pretty much stops puberty from happening). If you ovaries don’t develop correctly you are going to have all kinda problems with your reproductive system and that includes having skipped periods. Asherman’s syndrome normally only affects older women and is caused by scar tissue forming in the womb (it’s normally because of some kind of op you have had ‘down there’) and can cause a woman to miss her period or the period to stop completely. Thyroid problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Tuberculosis and Diabetes can also cause you to skip a period here and there.
A skipped period can cause your heart to skip a beat, but it’s actually pretty common. So, unless you have had unprotected sex or have any of the symptoms of the nasties mentioned above you shouldn’t be that worried about it. If you are still stressing, make an appointment with the doc so you can get to the bottom of any probs with your bod.