You thought it was that time of the month, but your period did not arrive. Don't panic! During the teen years, your period may not always arrive "on time" or regularly. In fact, it can take up to two years from the time you start menstruating for your body to develop a regular cycle.
Although it is important to remember that pregnancy can be a possibility if you are sexually active (and you should see a health care provider if you think you may be pregnant), there can be a simple explanation for your missed period.
If you participate in sports that require long hours of practice, are taking birth control pills containing synthetic hormones or your body is experiencing changing hormone levels typical for teenagers, it is not unusual to miss or skip a period.
Below are some reasons (other than pregnancy) that you may miss your period. However, it is always best to speak to a health care provider if you experience any sudden changes in your body.
While high school sports are a great source of exercise, female athletes can see a change in their menstrual cycle when they are training hard. You may experience less bleeding, shorter or less frequent periods, or your period may stop completely. This is how the body conserves energy during times of strenuous activity.
Usually periods return to normal several months after you have stopped strenuous sports participation. You should not be concerned if periods are infrequent, such as several times per year rather than once per month.
However, if periods have stopped completely for more than 6 months, you should be examined by a physician to rule out any medical condition. Absence of periods for more than one year can cause loss of bone density and increase the risk of stress fractures during sports. It can also increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
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Although, birth control pills are often prescribed to regulate a women's period, they can also cause you to miss your period. If you are using a hormonal method of birth control containing progesterone (such as Depo-Provera, Norplant, or mini-pills) you may miss or fail to have a period.
It is not abnormal to miss your period while on birth control. In fact, you may not experience any bleeding during the placebo week (the week that you take inactive pills) until you have stopped taking birth control completely. However, if you are concerned you may be pregnant, you should take a urine pregnancy test or speak to a health care provider.
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If you do not get your period, a medical condition called amenorrhea could be to blame. Some women that have not started their period by age 16 may have amenorrhea-primary. Amenorrhea-primary has several causes. If you are concerned that you have not started your period and you are over age 16, see your health care provider.
Amenorrhea-secondary is a condition in which menstruation begins at the appropriate age, but later stops for six or more months. If you have not had a period in more than six months, see your health care provider.
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While some stress is normal for teenagers, an excessive amount of stress can be harmful to your health. If you are under a large amount of emotional stress, either from school or your family, it can affect your period.
View Seven Tips to Relieve Stress.
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Each year, millions of people in the United States are affected by serious and sometimes life-threatening eating disorders. The vast majority -- more than 90 percent -- of those afflicted with eating disorders are adolescent and young adult women.
Approximately 1 percent of adolescent girls develop anorexia nervosa, a dangerous condition in which they can literally starve themselves to death. Another 2 to 3 percent of young women develop bulimia nervosa, a destructive pattern of overeating followed by vomiting or other "purging" behaviors to control their weight.
The consequences of eating disorders can be severe. Eating disorders are very damaging to the body because it believes it is starving. Your bodily functions slow down and may even cause your period to stop. If you think you may have an eating disorder, don't hesitate to contact your physician to discuss the problem immediately.
For more information see Eating Disorders.
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Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Amenorrhea , Medline Plus.