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Irregular Periods Could Be a Symptom of Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

Why You Shouldn't Ignore an Irregular Period

Women, and even our doctors, often shrug off an irregular period as no big deal. We go on birth control to regulate it and don't give it a second thought. But, warns gynecologist Lawrence Nelson, an irregular period could be indicative of a serious problem called primary ovarian insufficiency, or POI.

One in 100 women under the age of 40, says Nelson, may suffer from this disruption in hormones, which causes irregular cycles and negatively impacts fertility and bone health. Occasional interruptions in your cycle due to stress and other factors are totally normal, but with POI, hormone production will start and stop, throwing the ovaries out of whack.

I've known several women, including our own DrSugar, who have had a difficult time conceiving after going off birth control and experience irregular periods. According to Dr. Nelson, hormonal birth control doesn't cause POI, but birth control pills can mask the condition, since they make it appear that your body is ovulating regularly when it may not be. He says that 5 to 10 percent of women diagnosed with POI can ultimately conceive.

If you're experiencing an irregular period, especially over a long period of time, don't consider the absence of Aunt Flo a blessing. Visit your doctor and try to get to the bottom of the issue. Have any of you been diagnosed with POI?

Join The Conversation
Berzerker Berzerker 7 years
At times I have been. But, if I have a dream about blood (Sometimes a bucket of blood, blood on the floor, ect.) then 2 or 3 days later I get my period. I always know when to wear granny panties because of those dreams. Does anyone else experience this?
whatwouldruthdo whatwouldruthdo 7 years
For YEARS doctors brushed off my irregular periods as no big deal. Turns out I had PCOS. I only found out because I became diabetic at age 30 and put the pieces together myself by doing a bunch of reading. It's hard not to be resentful considering that if I'd treated my insulin resistance a few years ago I could have avoided developing diabetes.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 7 years
UGH, I HATE BIRTH CONTROL! I had normal periods and then went on BCPs for 10 years and it took me a year to finally ovulate. It made TTC quite difficult. They did all the tests and everything came back normal and said just wait. So I did and eventually I ovulated again and now I have a beautiful 3 month old!!! My sister had the same thing happen to her after BCPs. I think POI is measured with FSH test and PCOS is measured with hormonal levels/ultrasounds of ovaries.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
No, I'm regular as rain. I even know the exact moment I ovulate. I'm serious. The downside to this is regular PMS. My PMS is ten days out of every month. It's rough.
Meowphotog Meowphotog 7 years
This is interesting. My period doesn't disappear for months at a time, but it enjoys coming late, for a few months I can be regular, but there comes a time when suddenly I am 1 day late, then 2, then 3, then 4, and then it stops and I'm regular. I've had several cysts on my ovaries over the years, or at least that is what my doctor believed to be causing me severe pain, but after an ultrasound, nada. I think I need to get my hormones checked out, just something I've been feeling I need to do, and maybe I should if this may cause my strange period.
Lo-Lo291303 Lo-Lo291303 7 years
Err...*sporadic. I'm an English teacher - I should really know better.
Lo-Lo291303 Lo-Lo291303 7 years
Wow, what a coincidence. I'm going through this right now, and went on the pill about three weeks ago as a result. Oddly enough, I'm still bleeding in between my periods. Does anyone know how long it takes for the pill to regulate you? I'm guessing a whole month. At least I certainly hope so, because I can't take the sporatic and frequent cramps and bleeding!
girlgreen girlgreen 7 years
anon 9, have you heard of chasteberry/vitex? it's a natural herbal supplement that's supposed to regulate your hormones naturally and make your periods more regular. i've never used it because i'm on BC and you cannot use the two at the same time (vitex is NOT BC). anyway, you should google it. it sounds like it would help you. oh and anon 1, the body hair thing makes it sound more like PCOS.
o2cgirl o2cgirl 7 years
I never had regular periods and went without one for almost a year when I was in college. At the time, my doctor just put me on BCP and told me not to worry about it until I wanted to get pregnant. I think that was really bad advice! I was off the pill for a year and never got a period before starting fertility treatments. I was never officially diagnosed with anything, but Clomid finally worked and I conceived - baby's due in a month! I feel very lucky, but I'd recommend that anyone else get their issued diagnosed and treated ASAP instead of waiting like I did.
lawchick lawchick 7 years
chloe, the main test is a test for FSH on day 3 of your period. the quick research I did after seeing this post referenced "infrequent" periods more than "irregular" periods. How annoying for you though!
Advah Advah 7 years
Eek yeah I'm always scared that any nasty conditions or diseases seem to start with irregular periods and/or unusual bleeding. It's always so difficult knowing what's related to stress, being tired or not eating properly, and what's actually more serious. Plus some doctors don't help by being crazy patronizing; I remember a couple of years ago running to a GP because I'd been heavily bleeding for two days in between my periods (never happened to me before), and that guy, after hearing I'd studied arts and not sciences, sitting me down and drawing a vagina and uterus to explain to me what ovulation discharges and other discharges were like. I was like "duh, I'm old enough to know that and also recognise it's BLOOD". Sorry for the rant. I'm still angry at that moron.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I've been very irregular for the past year - frequently having my period ever 2 weeks, but once I went 6 weeks in between. Does anyone know if having your period to often can be a sign of POI? Also, is there an actual test they do to determine whether someone has POI?
lawchick lawchick 7 years
(wring = wrong)
lawchick lawchick 7 years
Oh wow, this is making me panic a bit. Definitely will be discussing this in my first RE appointment on Thursday. :( RunnerLeash - I've done a good bit of reading about infertility, and it is somewhat common for people who exercise A LOT to not get their period (without anything else being wring). Usually when you want to get pregnant, you can reduce your exercise and it will come back. Good luck!
RunnerLeash1 RunnerLeash1 7 years
Uh, this worries me, I get my period soo rarely, its been about 6 months at least since my last... the doctors always just say its because I'm a runner... but I don't think its healthy, although yes I like not having a period!
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