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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Irregular periods

Dear Dr. Amy,

I am 35 years old, married, with 3 children 12, 10 & 6. We don't want anymore children.
I have been using Encare Vaginal Spermicide suppositories, for the past two years. My husband doesn't want to get the vasectomy and i am still not thrilled with the idea of tubal ligation.

Since last March my menstrual cycle has been very irregular. Each month it is either 2-7 days early then it has been 2-12 days late. So far this month i am 8 days late from last months first day of the period which was sept 14th. I feel fine have no symptoms. I have been under enormous stress lately.

I just went to the doctor on Thursday Oct 20. However, she had to cut the visit very very short since there was an emergency at the hospital emergency c-section. However, she did give me a pap-smear test.

Would the pap smear test results be effected by my irregular periods or possibly even pregnancy? What effect does stress have on the menstrual cycle? I also have been skipping a lot more meals in the past 6 -8 weeks, so stressed not really that hungry, could that have an effect on menstrual cycle?

Thank you for your cooperation.


Dear Dianna,

The fact that your periods have been irregular for the last 6 months could be related to stress. It is also possible that you are in the early stages of peri-menopause and that is affecting your periods. Peri-menopause can last for 5-7 years or more before you actually go through menopause. During that time, your periods could become irregular, could be longer or shorter than usual, or heavier or lighter than usual.

Pregnancy does not sound likely, but only a pregnancy test can tell you whether you are pregnant.

A Pap smear is just a scraping of cells from the cervix. It would not be affected by irregular periods or a pregnancy.

Since your doctor had to cut the visit short, it seems reasonable for you to call her and talk to her at greater length about your concerns. Since she is familiar with your medical history, she may have additional ideas about what is going on.



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