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How Late Can a Period Be Before I Should Worry?

Missed a Period? Not Pregnant? Here's When to See a Doctor

Is there a time when you should worry about missing your period? "The most common reason for missing a period is still pregnancy," said Dr. Stephanie Long, MD, with One Medical. "If you miss a period, and you've been sexually active in a way that could get you pregnant, it's a good thought to take a pregnancy test. We want to make sure we are diagnosing pregnancy early."

But what if you're not pregnant — or you're not even sexually active? Aside from pregnancy, there are some other reasons that could cause you to miss a period, primarily related to hormones, medications, and weight. Here are signs to look for — and if you fall into any of these three categories, definitely schedule an appointment with your doctor:

  • You've stopped your birth control (and your period hasn't come back). "When you stop a birth control method and you haven't restarted within three months," it's time to visit the doctor. This could be a sign of an imbalance in your body. Get it checked out!
  • It's been more than six months. Dr. Long advises a check-up "if your period has been gone for longer than six months." Don't go longer than that without a visit to your provider.
  • It vanishes. "If you've had a period regularly for a while and then it disappears," and you're not sexually active (aka there's no chance you're pregnant), head in for a doctor's appointment.

Dr. Long reiterated that if there's a chance you could be pregnant, the earlier you take the pregnancy test, the better. If you're sexually active and you've skipped a period, "Take a pregnancy test the first month that it's missed," she said. And good rule of thumb? Build a relationship with your doctor. Keep your visits regular so you can stay on top of all aspects of your health, periods included.

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