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Absence of Menses While on the Pill

Q: I'm 35 years old, and have been taking birth control pills since I was about 16. I haven't had a period for about 3 months now, and I'm concerned. My gynecologist just laughed at me and told me this is very common, and not to worry. But I've been reading about premature ovarian failure and oligomenorrhea, and I'm worried. Should I get a second opinion? Should I be concerned?


Dr. Donnica: While this is very common, and may have many explanations, laughter is not an appropriate response. The first thing that must be ruled out is pregnancy! This is the most common reason for periods to stop while taking the pill. If you haven't missed any days or had any courses of antibiotics (some of which can make the pill less effective), this would be extremely unlikely, but it is easy enough--and important enough--to rule out. Ironically, women on the Pill who do get premature ovarian failure often still have menstrual periods, and the condition is masked by the Pill cycles. You may want to discuss with your doctor whether you should go off the Pill for a month to see if your period returns and if not, what steps you should take to evaluate the situation further.

Best regards,
Donnica Moore MD
President, DrDonnica.com

Created: 7/19/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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