I've Skipped Two Periods: Should I Be Concerned?

I've Skipped Two Periods: Should I Be Concerned?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you miss a period? If you’re like most people, probably pregnancy. 

But that’s just one possible cause of missing one or more periods. There are other causes, too — some serious and some benign. The key is knowing when to see the doctor and when it’s OK to wait for one more cycle.

A top-ranked board-certified gynecologist, Paul W. Morrison, M.D., is skilled at determining the causes of abnormal menstrual bleeding, including missed periods. If you’ve missed two periods in a row, read on to learn what could be to blame and when you should make an appointment with Dr. Morrison.

Causes of missed periods

Despite what you were taught in middle school health class, the menstrual cycle isn’t always straightforward and predictable. It’s actually a fairly complex process that involves your ovaries, uterus, brain, and hormones, and issues that affect any part of the menstruation process can cause delays in your cycle.

Pregnancy and menopause are probably the two most well-known causes of missed periods, but there are others. Here are some of the most common causes.

Pregnancy

In pregnancy, your cycles stop because your uterus is occupied by the developing fetus, and the uterine lining helps support the baby as it grows. Your body’s hormone production naturally alters until after the baby is delivered.

If you suspect you might be pregnant — even if you only miss one period — you absolutely should call the office right away to discuss options, including initiating prenatal care.

Menopause

Menopause happens when your body’s production of the hormone estrogen declines as part of the aging process. Estrogen plays an essential role in menstruation, and when levels decline, your periods stop, typically sometime in your early 50s.

Some women experience abnormal cycles as they approach menopause, a time period known as perimenopause (literally “around” menopause). If you’re in perimenopause, you might experience temporary delays in your periods even though your cycle has not completely stopped.

Other causes

While pregnancy and menopause are two of the most well-known causes, they’re not the only ones. Here are some others:

Many of these problems interfere with the way your body produces or uses hormones, resulting in a delay of your normal cycle.

When to call the office

Unless you suspect you might be pregnant, a single missed period is probably nothing to worry about. Many women miss a period now and then, especially if they’ve been under stress, been ill, or have changed their birth control method. 

Even missing two consecutive periods probably isn’t a cause for alarm. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says amenorrhea — the medical term for the absence of periods — happens when you haven’t had a period for 3 cycles or 90 days. Certainly, missing a third period is a reason to call the office and schedule a visit as soon as possible.

You should also call the office if you have a personal or family history of ovarian or uterine cancers or hormonal issues, such as PCOS. Of course, if missing two periods has you concerned, you can always call our office and schedule an appointment so we can determine the cause.

Don’t ignore abnormal bleeding

Paying attention to your menstrual cycle can help you keep track of your health and spot possible problems early on. If you’ve missed two or more periods, or if you have other concerns about your cycle, call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D., today. We’re located in Newburgh, Indiana, and we serve the Evansville area.

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