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i have been missing a period for months now im 38 what is wrong?

By Anonymous October 27, 2011 - 8:23am
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hello im joanna self and im 38. i have not had a period for months and i have tested for pregnancy and im not. i am over weight and active. i work 2 jobs that i walk around and bend and stoop and lift and stretch all day except for when i have to travel from job to job. could my weight be whats causing my missed periods. i had irregular periods before ever since i had my daughter and shes 6. I gained alot of weight during my pregnancy with her and i lost some weight after but currently still am overweight. im 5'9 and weigh 245 and back before i got pregnant when i weighed 150 -180 i didnt have problems with my periods. for 6 years i have had periods that would skip a month or 2 but not this long is been probably 5-6 months. i sometimes get this full feeling like im getting ready to start and cramping but nothing ever happens.when i did have my period it would be really heavy especially when i skipped a month or 2. even though i work 2 jobs they are both part time of 10-30 hrs combined and i have student loans and debts im paying on so i dont have insurance and dont make enough to pay premiums for med insurance or doctors visits. so i dont go to the doctor that often. theres no cancer that runs in my family as far as i know but im really scared cuz im worried this has serious health risks plus i wanted to get back regular periods and lose this weight so i can be healthy again and have another baby. i am planning a change of eating habits and beter diet i know what need to do on that and i am looking for a treadmill so i can do more walking at home. can someone tell what i can do? what is wrong with me?

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You can click on the term "amenorrhea" above for more information, but here is the list of risk factors and possible causes:


Secondary amenorrhea is most commonly caused by pregnancy. But in nonpregnant women, amenorrhea may result from a variety of factors, including an existing medical condition, lifestyle, emotional distress, hormonal irregularity, or medication. Every effort should be made to determine the exact cause. Specific causes of amenorrhea include:

* Dramatic weight loss, particularly from drastic diets, eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia , or excessive exercise
* Dramatic weight gain or morbid obesity
* Malnourishment
* Birth defects including lack of a uterus, vagina, or other reproductive organs
* Medical conditions including cystic fibrosis , Cushing's disease , polycystic ovary , or Prader-Willi syndrome
* Psychological stress—can lead to a hormonal imbalance sufficient to cause amenorrhea.
* Medications—some antidepressants, chemotherapeutics, corticosteroids, certain contraceptives.
* Chromosomal abnormalities
* Hermaphroditism (having both male and female reproductive organs)
* Pituitary tumor
* Thyroid dysfunction
* Uterine scarring

Risk Factors

Women who eat a diet that doesn’t provide sufficient caloric intake, exercise excessively, or suffer under considerable psychological distress are more likely to experience amenorrhea.

Women born with chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities, as well as those who suffer from certain chronic diseases, are also more likely to experience amenorrhea.

October 27, 2011 - 9:06am

Hi Joanna,
Thanks for your question! Many women have irregular periods, and can even miss 1 or 2 periods without having a diagnosable medical condition (ie, missing a period could be stress-related).

However, once a woman (who is not pregnant and not entering peri-menopause in her 40s) has missed 3 or more periods in-a-row, this becomes a condition known as amenorrhea (just a fancy term for "loss of period). Amenorrhea can be caused by many factors, all of which need to be examined by a medical doctor to rule out such things as you mentioned (cancer for one). Amenorrhea can be caused by uterine fibroids that are not cancerous, but may need to be treated.

There are many options for women who do not have insurance, as when I did not have maternity health insurance, I was able to pay a "self-pay" amount that was more than 50% reduced. There are sliding-scale fees, as well as other options for payment.

Do you have a regular doctor that you can at least CALL and talk with the nurse (who has your medical history), and ask to be seen for an examination? This would be just an office visit, and you can ask about the sliding-scale and/or self-pay option. At that time, you can discuss testing options..but please call your doctor's nurse (or, go to a walk-in clinic).

Amenorrhea is something you want to discover the cause behind, as prevention is much less expensive than if you wait and discover another problem.

October 27, 2011 - 9:02am
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