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Dear Sexpert,

I usually get my period every month, but I haven't gotten it in three months. I wasn't sexually active when my period stopped, but I took several pregnancy tests just in case and they came back negative. What is wrong with me?

— Missing my monthly friend

Dear Missing,

Absent menstruation (or amenorrhea)is not uncommon and is frequently a symptom of another health concern. There are two types of amenorrhea: primary and secondary. The more common of the two is secondary amenorrhea, which is characterized by at least three consecutively missed periods.

There are multiple reasons that your period may be absent, including pregnancy, heightened stress or anxiety, some medications, exercising too much, significant changes in weight, hormonal imbalance, pituitary tumor or thyroid disease. Since you mentioned that you were not sexually active at the time that this started happening, pregnancy is most likely not the cause of your absent period. However, if you have had unprotected sex within two weeks of your first missed period, you should not rule out the possibility of pregnancy entirely.

The best course of action is to make an appointment with your health care provider to get a more personalized and professional opinion on the possible cause of your missed periods and how to address it. You can make an appointment for consultation at Sexual Health and Wellness at the McCosh Health Center online or by calling 609-258-3141.

Depending on the suspected cause, your provider may recommend a variety of treatment options or techniques for you to try, such as maintaining a healthy body weight and adopting healthy practices for managing stress (e.g. meditation, getting enough sleep) to see if any of these help to regulate your menstrual cycle. While it may be frustrating to keep waiting for your monthly friend to arrive, understanding the reasons behind the delay may be helpful in predicting future visits and in providing you some peace of mind.

— The Sexpert

Information regarding amenorrhea provided by The Mayo Clinic and Go Ask Alice!

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