No Periods After Stopping the Pill

When you've been on the birth control pill for some time, it can be difficult to know just what your period will be like once you go off this contraception.

Although many women resume regular periods right away, others may have to wait months before they get their period again. Understandably, this can cause some anxiety. However, a lack of a period after stopping the birth control pill isn't always a problem.

The Pill and Delayed Periods

Too Much Exercise Can Cause Your Period To Stop

It is really quite common to have some delay before the resumption of normal periods after stopping the pill. We are not sure how much this delay has to do with the pill itself, and it seems likely that if it's prolonged (more than 6 months) in fact the pill was probably hiding a period irregularity, rather than being the cause.

If periods don't come back within a couple of months, its worth seeing your GP or gynaecologist. She will perform a few tests in order to check on your hormone levels. These tests include:

  • Progestagen challenge test: A 5-7 day course of progestagens (one of the normal hormones of the cycle), at the end of which you should have a period - this checks that your ovaries are producing adequate oestrogen (the predominant female hormone), both of which are needed to ovulate.
  • Ultrasound scan of the ovaries and hormone test: This helps to rule out common causes of failure to ovulate, such as polycystic ovaries.

If these are all O.K. and a blood screen for other hormone irregularities is clear, then its likely just to be 'one of those things.' However, there could be other underlying reasons for your menstrual irregularities.

Other Issues that Can Interrupt Menstruation

Besides the birth control pill and other forms of hormonal birth control, there are a number of other issues that could cause your menstrual period to arrive late. Ovulation and menstruation is a very delicate cycle, and can easily be disturbed by a number or factors.

Body Weight

Body weight plays a key role in determining when and how you will ovulate and menstruate. This is because fat cells in the body release estrogen, which help to regulate both ovulation and the monthly shedding of the endometrial lining.

In order to maintain a regular menstrual cycle, most women need to have at least 22% body fat. Anything less or more than this level can have a negative impact on regular menstruation.

  • If You are Underweight: If you are underweight for your height, you could experience irregular menstruation or even complete amenorrhea (loss of menstruation). Women who are undernourished and underweight do not have enough body fat to produce the oestrogen needed to ovulate and menstruate. This is why many women who suffer from eating disorders often lose their periods completely. Be sure to speak with your health care provider if you are underweight and experiencing irregular menstrual periods.
  • If You are Overweight: If you are overweight you are also at risk for having irregular menstrual periods. This is because overweight women tend to have excess amounts of body fat. As a result, their bodies produce too much oestrogen, interfering with the regular process of ovulation and menstruation. If you are overweight and experiencing problems with your period, be sure to discuss it with your health care practitioner.
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