We all know that one of the signs of pregnancy is that your periods stop. But what about when they stop although you couldn't possibly be pregnant? Your menstrual cycle can be affected by other factors as well. Your body will shut down your periods if it's under any stress that would make a pregnancy inadvisable. So before you panic that you're pregnant, here are some other reasons why your periods can slow down or stop altogether …
Are you under any serious stress at the moment? Do you have major relationship problems, is your job under threat, or do you have serious health problems? This can cause your periods to stop or be irregular. The reason for this is that your body decides that now is not the time for you to be fertile, so stops you ovulating.
Some methods of birth control will affect your menstrual cycle. For example, if you've been given a contraceptive implant such as a Mirena coil, you may find that you have irregular periods. They may even stop altogether. The contraceptive injection can also have a similar effect.
Women normally begin the menopause in their late 40s or early 50s. But a minority of women have an early menopause, which may be caused by an autoimmune disorder or happen for genetic reasons. If you're getting other symptoms such as hot flashes or mood swings, your doctor may check for indications that you're going into early menopause.
There are a number of medical conditions that can cause your periods to slow down or stop altogether. One of the most common is PCOS, or Polycystic ovary syndrome. Thyroid problems may also affect your periods, as can a number of rarer conditions. Some women also suffer from premature ovarian failure, in which the ovaries stop producing eggs.
Your periods may also stop if you're underweight. This is because the brain shuts down the hormones that tell the ovaries to release eggs. It commonly happens in women with an eating disorder. But it can also happen if you're overweight, or if you gain or lose a lot of weight.
If you are taking medication, it can cause your periods to slow down or stop. This may happen if you're taking strong drugs such as antipsychotics. Antidepressants, allergy meds or medication for conditions like high or low blood pressure can also affect your periods.
Do you lead a very active lifestyle? Women athletes and dancers may find that their periods are affected. This can be down to the fact that their high level of activity means they have low body fat, or because they are using up a lot of energy. Athletes also put their body under a lot of stress, which as I've already mentioned can affect your menstrual cycle.
The body is complicated, and so many things can affect your menstrual cycle. Of course, if you are sexually active then pregnancy is a possible reason why your periods have stopped. But it's not the only one, so do consider what other reasons could be making your periods slow down or stop altogether. And if you're concerned, it's always wise to see your doctor.
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