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For most women, missing a period is one of the first signs of pregnancy that women notice. For others, irregular periods make it difficult to know when a period should start and when it has been missed. There are, however, a number of early signs that can signal the need for a pregnancy test or a visit to the doctor. Missed period Most women begin wondering about pregnancy when they have missed their period. However, a number of women have irregular periods or do not keep track of their periods. For these women, some of the other symptoms may signal a pregnancy. Some women may experience spotting (explained below) or light bleeding, and mistakenly think they have gotten a lighter than normal period. Sore, swollen or tender breasts Initially, women may have a soreness or tenderness in their breasts similar to the feeling before they get their period and as days go on, the feeling increases. This can begin as early as when someone is one to two weeks pregnant. For some, thi...
Irregular menstruation; Heavy, prolonged, or irregular periods; Menorrhagia; Polymenorrhea; Metrorrhagia and other menstrual conditions; Abnormal menstrual periods; Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Apgar BS, Kaufman AH, George-Nwogu U, Kittendorf A. Treatment of menorrhagia. Am Fam Physician . 2007;75:1813-1819.
Lobo RA. Abnormal uterine bleeding: Ovulatory and anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding, management of acute and chronic excessive bleeding. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2007:chap 37.
By far the most frequent question I get about menopause is "WHEN does it start?" Women between the ages of 36 and 55 ask the same thing: "I've missed X number of periods. Is it menopause?"
I can tell you that technically, menopause begins after you have missed periods for 12 months, but of course that technical answer doesn't help much because by the time you've missed 12 periods, you KNOW you're in menopause. What women really want to know is whether they are starting menopause.
Missed periods can be caused by a lot of things, the two most frequent being pregnancy and menopause. To even see those two words together strikes fear in many women's hearts. I have a good friend who started missing her periods and hoped it was because she was pregnant, but alas, it was menopause. Only your hormones know for sure.
So a 47-year-old who is asking me about two missed periods (and even in her email I can sense the panic in her question) could be facing two very differe...
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