April 11th, 2011
08:32 AM ET

Go on birth control for 20 years for missed periods?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Question asked by Elena, Florida

I have not had a period for the past five years and before that I had a normal menstrual cycle for 10 years. I went to both my primary care doctor and gynecologist but after the initial blood work and pelvic ultrasound came back normal, it was decided I should go on birth control and stay on it until I reach menopause age. I really don't like the idea of being on birth control for the next 20 years. Is there another specialist I should see or another test I should ask for specifically?

Expert answer

Thanks for your question. To better help you, I consulted Dr. Gary Glasser of Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics in Decatur, Georgia. Glasser shares the following information about prolonged missed periods:

Your concern about your lack of periods (or menses) is understandable, as a monthly cycle is thought by many patients to be "normal," so a lack of them (called amenorrhea) must be "abnormal." Primary amenorrhea means never having a period in the first place, even at an age and stage of development when menses would be expected. Secondary amenorrhea is when three menses have skipped (or six months, whichever is first) in a woman who previously had menstrual cycles.

The most common reason for amenorrhea is pregnancy, which needs to be excluded if a woman is sexually active with males. Following this, an evaluation of the causes for amenorrhea take into account the organs that are responsible for periods in the first place: the ovaries, the uterus, two parts of the brain (the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland), as well as other organs that, when abnormally functioning, can affect the menses, such as the thyroid gland. This type of evaluation generally involves blood tests as well as imaging studies of the reproductive organs and brain if needed.

A careful history and physical exam should be conducted, looking for signs and symptoms (besides amenorrhea) that can occur when the above organs aren't functioning as they should. Abnormal ovarian function can be a result of either polycystic ovarian syndrome, in which ovulation either doesn't occur or occurs irregularly, or a decrease in ovarian function that can present as premature menopause. The uterus can be affected by infection or scarring from uterine surgeries after complicated obstetrical deliveries. The brain can be affected by anorexia, excessive exercise, stress (either emotional or severe illnesses), benign growths in the pituitary gland, or by no apparent precipitating factors at all.

Treatment of secondary amenorrhea depends on the cause. Should amenorrhea be associated with low estrogen levels, the concern is that a woman may be at increased risk for bone thinning and fractures, so estrogen supplementation with oral contraception (a "birth-control pill") is often prescribed, which may be the case in your situation. If there are further questions following the evaluation and treatment by your primary care physician or general gynecologist, a reproductive endocrinologist may be of assistance.

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. tiff

    And why must I continue to have a period at all after I am finished having children? I would like to have either a Hysterectomy where they only remove the uterus OR an ablation of the uterus so I cannot bleed any longer....

    April 11, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • me

      Amen sista!

      April 11, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • Mama

      Had the ablation and it failed -still have a period every month (just very light and PITA) and PMS is a witch! I have PCOS and a Chiari Malformation and PMS is hell. I'm considering the pill so I don't go through my cycle. I also had a tubal and an ovary removed and life still sucks for 12 days out of the month.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      My mom had a hysterectomy for medical reasons around 4 years after she had me. Being grown I asked her if it bothered her at all and there were two negatives (and some positives). First she took hormone replacement pills for many years until it came out that this pill is linked to cancer. Second after she stopped the pills she went into an earlier menopause than other women. I would say mid to late forties. But the good is she no longer has problems with her uterus, periods, she is done with menopause, got to stop birth control and seems just fine to me. She doesn't miss it I guess – I can definitely see myself doing it when I am done with kids.

      April 11, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
    • sherry

      Let me get this. The story is about women not wanting to have menstrual periods. I think that the medical industry should figure out how to save women from these awful, expensive, messy happenings. No woman likes it, and the tampons/pads industry make a fortune by not letting there be ways to shut down all this unnecessary bleeding and/or anemia.

      So who does the CNN reporter interview about a woman's health issue? A MAN!!!! He's never had a menstrual period in his life (lucky him), yet they interview a male gynecologist. Frankly, I think that men should not allowed to be gynecologists. Would you go to a dentist who didn't have any teeth? In this day and age, MEN should not allowed to be gynecologists, and they certainly should NOT be interviewed for an article about women who are fed up with periods.

      The first time a male has to endure the pain and mess of a period, is the first time there will be a "cure" for such pain and mess. Men do not have any concept of the fact that sometimes you can wear light colored clothes, and sometimes you have to wear black clothes. Because the blood can leak out, and you never know when.

      Next time, CNN. ask a FEMALE gynecologist about menstrual periods. DUMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 12, 2011 at 01:39 | Report abuse |
    • AC

      @sherry: No, you didn't get it. The story is not about someone who wants to stop her periods. It's a question from someone whose periods HAVE stopped unexpectedly for a long time and she needs to know why. Also, periods are not unnecessary as you state as a buildup of endometrium for years on end would not be healthy. Don't go off on the sanitary product industry either since they fill a need. And the question was submitted to Dr Shu who consulted with someone who is more learned in gynecological disorders than she is, gender notwithstanding.

      April 12, 2011 at 08:04 | Report abuse |
    • Mrs Marvel

      @sherry, wow, did you read the article? I'd say you didn't, as then you would have known it was not about a woman wanting to stop her period. As for men not being allowed to be gynos, that is just a ridiculous statement. Next you will be saying oncologists should be divided into male and female based on whether they treat breast or prostate cancer.

      April 12, 2011 at 18:45 | Report abuse |
  2. AGuest9

    Besides, isn't being on birth control for long periods asking for stroke/clotting issues?

    April 11, 2011 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      No, your body doesn't produce or store blood. The pill is actually helps prevent heart disease.

      April 11, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
    • NOVANative

      I have no idea what you are talking about, Susan, but yes, AGuest9, hormone supplementation can increase the risk of blood clots. It's one reason many physicians didn't want birth control to be over-the-counter. However, if this patient has no other risk factors, such as obesity or high blood pressure, the increased risk is outweighed by the benefits of having some female reproductive hormone present during a time of life it normally would be (which is not the same as Hormone Replacement Therapy after normal menopause).

      April 11, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
  3. AGuest9

    So, CNN, what happened to my other post? If you're going to post articles dealing with reproductive health, then you have to accept that people are going to use terms like p.e.r.i.o.d..

    April 11, 2011 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • forkE

      You need to stop being so critical of the monitors who make it safe for all of us to post here and start training for your upcoming cage match with ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER.

      April 11, 2011 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
  4. Khadijah

    I once wrote a paper discussing the causes of amenorrhea, and one of the primary causes in young women is that they allow their body fat to fall below 19%, and thinking back to some of my friends who later got preggers, I recall that many of them had that happy ripe glow. LOL I can't understand why the Doctor did not choose the simplest thing first?

    April 11, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ks

      wow! I must have gotten yours, mine happens every two weeks without fail. Have had numerous tests-nothing wrong nor can they find out why I have them so often.

      April 11, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • huh?

      Wow, did you use the term "preggers" in your paper? I can't take anyone seriously who uses that term and what in heck does pregnancy have to do with body fat index below 19%? A body fat index below about 12% in women may trigger amenorrhea, 19% is very healthy. Also, women below 12% body fat are no longer attractive to men and certainly are devoid of a healthy glow. Just what journal did you publish in or was this a 6th grade "paper"? Were your fellow classmates "preggers"?

      April 11, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • NOVANative

      Actually, body fat below 21% is considered unhealthy in women. Many women will have abnormal or no periods as high as 18%. The numbers were once thought to be much lower for healthy women, but for at least 10 years, 21% has been the low normal.

      April 11, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • XS

      I have 15% body fat and have never had a problem. I'm almost 50. A woman has to get around 10-12% to quit having a period. I question your science.

      April 11, 2011 at 18:22 | Report abuse |
    • kdw31

      When I was an undergraduate doing a pre physical therapy program, I learned that a woman's BMI had to get below 12% before she would stop menstruating. Below 18% is considered underweight.

      April 11, 2011 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
    • Mrs Marvel

      What the heck is "that happy ripe glow"???????

      April 12, 2011 at 18:49 | Report abuse |
  5. Ema

    I'm 29 years old, with approx 23% Body Fat and I haven't had a period in over 5 years now. I'm thrilled actually and all my friends are jealous 🙂 I do not plan on having children and neither my primary or Gyno Doc's have a problem with it so – YAY!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ks

      so-they didn't post mine in the correct spot. I want to add that I am also at 23% body fat.

      April 11, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
    • XS

      I am so jealous! I am 15% body fat (sometimes less), always have been, and I have never missed a month. Oh well – hopefully it will send soon.

      April 11, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
    • Steph

      In my early 20's, I didn't have any periods for 9 years. My BMI was 28%. It was fantastic. I did get pregnant as my doctor told me that I could. After my pregnancy, my body went back to having periods every month. In my late thirties I am cursed with periods every two weeks. It was good while it lasted.

      April 11, 2011 at 22:20 | Report abuse |
  6. Louise

    So, your periods are missing...thus we are going to prescribe you something that actually suppresses your menstrual cycles all together so you don't menstruate ever again and miss out on the benefits of your cycles as well as risk side-effects, so you bleed monthly mimicking menstruation so thus think everything is okay...it amazes me that the medical community still thinks this way. Yes, lowered estrogen is an issue but that doesn't mean hormonal birth control is the only option, in fact there is concern over the long-term risk of such methods on bone development so the benefits in this sense are cancelled out.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elena

      Actually, I have normal hormonal levels, which adds a mystery to my case. (I am the person who wrote the question above.) Also I am not getting the withdrawal bleeding that women on birth control get either. However, I did with the progesterone withdrawal test I had before I was placed on birth control.

      I know that birth control is not the best option for me for the long run, which is why for the past five years I have been through several primary care physicians and gynecologist looking for an answer. Only to be told that birth control is the only answer because everyone is too lazy to find the real answer.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
    • good or bad?

      Oral contraceptives don't suppress the menstrual cycle at all. They suppress ovulation by stimulating a steady condition of pseudo pregnancy. Many formulations of oral contraceptives do allow for a very normal menses during the last week of the 28 day cycle. What is "natural" for women is to be pregnant all of the time, since men do a great job of constantly keeping all the ladies covered in the "wild". What is not normal is having hundreds of menses n a lifetime. Oral contraceptives aren't perfect but they can be a much healthier alternative to some gynecological problems, including Duggar-style family planning. We all weigh our options and pick the best one. If not aving menses in the absence of detectable illness bothers you, O.C/s are your only option right now. Otherwise, while lack of menses may pose a nagging possibility of illness, until you confirm it, enjoy it for what it is.

      April 11, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
    • kdw31

      I'm not sure what your talking about as it relates to bone mass. A lack of estrogen is associated with bone mass loss. This is one reason estrogen replacement is done for post menopausal women. The risk in OBC is stroke and blood clots, this increases with age and if the person smokes. The progesterone is the primary cause of this particular risk factor. Certain types of hormone replacement therapy were found, in a single study, to increase cancer and heart attack risk in post-menopausal women. More recent studies have shown the type of HRT used by most women (which was not the one used in the study, why they studied a kind nobody uses is strange to me) does not show an increased risk of cancer and heart attacks.
      Personally if I were the LW I would want to know why the condition was occurring. I have a friend with a benign pituitary cyst and she was having weird hormonal issues due to it. She actually began lactating even though she was not and never had been pregnant. It seems odd that they can't pinpoint a cause. The most obvious one, that has nothing to do with something actually being wrong, is a low BMI.

      April 11, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
  7. Tara

    So the fix for lack of menstruation is taking something that stops you menstruating until menopause.
    Brilliant logic.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kdw31

      Since when does oral contraceptives stop you from menstruating. I had periods every month on birth control. It stops you from ovulating not menstruating. There are certain types on the market that will stop menstruation. Seasonal only allows for 4 periods a year, and I actually can't think of any oral contraceptives that completely eliminate periods all together. It is not clear from the article what type this women has been prescribed.

      April 11, 2011 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      You can choose not to have a period with oral contraceptives by taking the pill daily, without stopping for the sugar pills. It doesn't cure the lack of a period, it cures low estrogen. Who cares about the lack of a period???? That's a bonus.

      April 11, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • Michaela

      KDW31: In answer to your question...I am on Seasonique and have been for at least a year now. I get my periods 4 times a year. I like that option because with the severe cramps and heavy bleeding that I experience...that is the better option for me. That is where you "stop menstruating".

      April 11, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • kdw31

      Michaela the LW did not indicate at all that the dr. was going to prescribe her a type of pill that limited her to only four menstruations a year. She only said that they put her on oral contraceptives. The majority of which you will have a menstruation every month. Yes you can skip the sugar pills and make yourself not have a period, but I don't know how commonly this is prescribed. I was more pointing out to Tara that just because you are on OBC it in no way means you will stop menstruating.

      April 11, 2011 at 21:13 | Report abuse |
  8. John Tate

    My wife went through the same thing and it was a pituitary tumor. It took an MRI to find out. She had the surgery but went through some real personality changes because the pituitary controls so many hormones.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. HELLO!!!!!

    My best friend is 46 years old and she is dying from Stage 4 Uterine Cancer. Her main symtom, no period in five years!!!! One GYN told her she was menopausal, idiot. She had some discomfort last fall, ultrasound showed fibroids, biopsy negative, scheduled a hysterectomy, came out with no uterus, no ovaries, removal of several feet of colon and weraing diapers for the rest of her life which may be a year if she is lucky......IT DOES MATTER IF YOU DON'T HAVE A PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      In your friend's case, the lack of a period was a symptom of something serious. But, the lack of a period didn't cause the cancer, it was the result. Your friend's problem had a lot to do with bad doctors.

      April 11, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
  10. Mary

    For those of you who are anti-birth control, there is another option.
    Provera is a progesterone pill that you take for 10 days only to induce a period. It is not a birth control.
    Your gyn should have mentioned this as an alternative.

    April 11, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kdw31

      It probably wasn't an alternative for the woman who asked the question since the article made it clear that doctors use the OBC to replace estrogen. So she needs one with estrogen in it. I would imagine that after 5 years the doctors have tried to induce a period with progesterone. The reason for using estrogen as stated in the article is that most women with this condition aren't making enough and a lack of estrogen is associated with losing bone mass.

      April 11, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      For years I had the same problem, would go years without a period. Tried both straight progrestron and bcp. Frankly – didn't like either. Was tested for lots of things to find the cause, never did....

      Once the stress in my life lessen.... my periods were back.

      April 11, 2011 at 19:56 | Report abuse |
    • Elena

      It was an option however, the doctor that suggested it wanted me to come in 4 times a year to confirm nothing had changed and then I would get a prescription for progesterone. That was not a solution to me because I do not have time to go to a doctor 4 times a year and she is not even trying figure out what is going on. The doctor I am with currently said birth control, however I know that I cannot stay on this as a permanent solution. The risk will be too high in 10 years for me to continue so I am trying to find a doctor who can give me some answers. I do not mind not having cycles but I want to be absolutely sure that there is not an underlying problem, even though all of my hormone levels are normal, since no other woman in my family that has or has had this kind of problem.

      April 12, 2011 at 08:52 | Report abuse |
  11. mommy2dmb

    What do you do if you want to end mensus completly? i am finished having children, completely healthy and i would really love to end that part of my life. there is no reason in the world to continue the cycle of crazy, calm, painful, then absolutely fine for a week, then back to crazy, calm, painful, and then fine. i have tried copper iud, i have done continuous bcp, patch, i mean everything but i dont know why i would need to anything with drugs permanently if the primary function is no longer required. thoughts?

    April 11, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cindy

      I've had Mirena for the past 17 months and I love it – no periods. It's an IUD with hormones.

      April 11, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
    • whoknows

      I have had issues since I was 18. The pill would work for about a year and then the bad cramping would come back. They would put me on a stronger pill, same thing. After several years of this I got on Depo Provera. No cycle, no moodiness, nothing. I did this for about 8 years and then I got off of it to have a child. After the child, the cramping and heavy cycle came back. At this point, I have been on it for 14 years. I know a lot of people cannot take it but if you can.... it is wonderful.

      April 11, 2011 at 20:23 | Report abuse |
  12. CancerKid

    I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 19. I had 2 bone marrow transplants. After all the treatements. I didn't have a cycle for 5 years, then it appeared for 3 months out of one year. I'm back to nothing. I'm not complaining. I love not having them, but my doctors say that I have to have them. They want me on hormones, which I can only be on for about 5 years where then it is harmful. I'm only 26 now. I've had tests...no one has given me a good answer. So if I haven't had one in sooo many years...why is it? Is it going to kill me? Is it a bad thing? I probably can't have kids then..but I'm not concerned with having them right now anyways.

    April 11, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. ?mark

    So why do they call it a period and not an exclamation?

    April 11, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreux

      That's so funny I forgot to laugh. Mark, this issue affects women. Your opinion is worth less than the weight of sunlight.

      April 11, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • ?mark

      Chartreux, are you on your period?

      April 11, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
    • forkE

      ?mark needs to spend some time int he ring with ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER. THat will straighten him out for sure.

      April 11, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
  14. Michaela

    I used to get my periods every three weeks. They would be heavy and very, very painful...to the point that I couldn't even get out of bed and it was making me nauseous! I am thankful that I am now on the pill and get them four times a year, and they are lighter. Still dealing with the cramping, but it's not as bad as it would be without being on the pill.

    April 11, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Carrie

    I have PCOS, and have had it since adolescence. The reason is a mystery to me as I have no family history of it and I am at a healthy weight, but I rarely ovulate on my own. I can go over a year without having a period, and when I finally get one it is NOT pretty! So I have to take birth control consistently to achieve a regular cycle. I wish there was another way, but my GYN said it's the best option. She said that if you don't have at least 4 periods a year, that puts you at increased risk of getting endometrial cancer, so I go ahead and take the pill.

    April 11, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Friday13bride

    I've been on ortho necon for 4 yrs (I have 2 kids) haven't gotten a period in 4 yrs.. The pill surpressed my period and my dr is fine with that... There is no reason for me to get a monthly cycle... I still get the PMS rbough

    April 11, 2011 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. LEB

    If you don't intend to use your uterus, why suffer through periods at all? There are ways to stop periods permanently, such as ablation. There are also reversible methods (such as IUDs) that stop periods with far less exposure to artificial hormones.

    April 11, 2011 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. GIJANE

    I wish men could have severe endometriosis for 25 years ! I've lost every job I've ever had and had to quit school, work, and sports because of my "periods". No one understands how debilitating it is and how much pain we experience every month for 30 years.

    People (including IGNORANT doctors tel you to "have a baby"- that DOES NOT work- you still get Endo AFTER having children and up until 2 years ago- ALL doctors thought that ENDO was "in your head". They now know what all women have known- and they are finally accepting it. The pill DOES cause strokes and heart attacks- so if you have a family history of anurysms or blood clots – please do not take it.

    I personally can't wait to hit menopause..my life has been HELL with the time of the month.

    I will burn my tampons when it's all over and have a great big party !!

    April 11, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Deb

      You make a great point. I have stage 4 endometriosis and have been on continious birth control for 6 years. It has stopped my periods and my life is so much better now. It's worth the risk, at this point anyway. But in my case the periods had to be stopped. Endometriosis was found on so many organs. So there are medical reasons for no period.

      April 12, 2011 at 07:27 | Report abuse |
  19. GIJANE

    I wish my docs had let me have a hysterectomy when I was 14...my life would have turned out soooo much better !!

    April 11, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. ER

    When I was 20, I was under a lot of stress (moved away from home, uncle then died and had to help aunt with care of elderly grandmother) and my periods stopped for six months. I was a virgin so I wasn't pregnant. I went to a GYN and he pronounced me healthy and put me on a brief dosage of progesterone & my periods started up again.

    I was on the pill for 25 years until I was 50. The last 5 years, I kept getting headaches each month when I went off the pill so my GYN said to take it continously so I did. Voila,no headaches. I stopped the pill at 50 as the health risks go way up at 50 & older. My periods started again. I got so used to them being stopped. They are somewhat erratic and tend to last 10 dayswith the first two days very heavy, which is annoying. I'm in "peri-menopause" now, haven't had hot flashes though I've had night sweats for a couple of years. I'm looking forward to the periods stopping though am not looking forward to other symptoms of menopause.

    April 11, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. I don't understand.....

    What's the difference between not getting your period while on the pill vs not getting it naturally? I have been on the pill for almost 20 years at this point and plan on going off of it next month. Before I went on it, I had very abnormal periods, like one every four months or so. But even on the pill, I almost never have a period. Only very light spotting, if anything. My doctor said that if I don't get my period semi-normally after I go off the pill, then I might have to go back on it due to an increased risk of endometrial cancer when you don't have your period enough. But I'm not having it on the pill either. Not sure what to do...........

    April 11, 2011 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Gwen0000

    Then again, women have a specific number of eggs. Once those eggs have passed out of the ovaries, there are no more menses. Regardless of age (you doctors should be ashamed of yourselves for "specifying" an age for menopause!), once the eggs are gone, they're GONE. If your first egg passes when you're 9 years old, you have your first period when you're 9 years old. From then on, your eggs will begin to regulate into a cycle. The same as if you have your first egg pass when you are 14 or 16 years old. Once the cycles are complete (once your eggs are gone)–whether you're 35, 40 or 55 years old–it's done....finished....over.

    My OB told me I was "premature" at age 40. Since I had my first period when I was 8 years old, I fully expected to enter menopause six to eight years "early". He ran the tests to eliminate cysts, cancer & whatnot... In the end, he had to agree with me. The eggs were eliminated from my body, and I was in menopause. If there's such a thing as "premature" menopause, I haven't seen it. All I have ever heard of is that when the eggs are gone, you stop having periods.

    Although oral contraceptives can fool your body into thinking it's about to deliver an egg, is it really worth it? Is a menstrual cycle so important when it won't amount to any reproduction? Gotta tell you, I've lost weight and look more appealing to hubby since menopause has passed; and without having to worry about contraceptives, we're more 'active' than ever.

    April 11, 2011 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. TLS

    I just had endometrial ablation, and I'm hoping it stops the periods completely...for some women it does. If it doesn't, I'm going to ask to have my uterus removed. I've had these horrible cycles for 38 years, and unfortunately for me, my FSH levels are still way too low for menopause. I honestly think women are given really bad information about the necessity of cycles.

    April 11, 2011 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. cari

    This all nonsense. I got my period at eighteen. Had it once a year for eight years until i had my first child. Then i had it once every six months or so until I had my second child three years later. Since then I have had it every month and a half and I am now fifty. I have been going through 'menopause symptoms' for the last fifteen. My point is doctors DO NOT know everything and sometimes NOTHING. Male GYN's are especially on the 'you need to be regular' bandwagon and it is a chauvinistic view!
    Believe me it is NOT needed. I did not get mine until eighteen remember...and I got pregnant each time on the first try. I am an RN, so I am medically educated and experienced as well. Find another doctor if you don't like what you hear and are not comfortable. BC meds are dangerous, and so are all those hormone concoctions. What is normal for one person is far from normal for the next is all I am saying. Look at your family history and current members. If i had, i would have seen it was normal for women in my family to have no period, yet be fertile.

    April 12, 2011 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • really?

      Cari, how many meds do you know that don't carry any risk?

      April 12, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  25. Sonya

    If it's PCOS, have an endocrinologist look seriously at diabetes or insulin resistance. Also, the pill provides many protective benefits, even anti-cancer. It's worth trying if you are young, healthy and don't smoke.

    April 12, 2011 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mindy

    I was on Depo Provera for ten years and never had a period. Yeah, I know – sounds bad and yes, there were side effects like bone loss and weight gain but the alternative was worse for me medically – too long of story for here – and Fosamax reversed my bone loss. Then Mirena came out. What a god-send! I was able to get off Depo and got Mirena inserted two years ago. Periods never came back, so now I have not had a period for 12 years! I am now 40 and have shown no negative side effects. And have lost 45 pounds since stopping the Depo.

    April 12, 2011 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. YM4

    By the time I reached 49 my periods were coming very heavy, very suddenly, and every two weeks. I had the Novasure abalation last October, and have not had a period since. It is heaven!!

    April 12, 2011 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. carolae

    At the age of 39, I started skipping periods every several months. A year later at 40, I stopped altogether and was going through menopause.....no big deal. I'm 72 and for the past 15 plus years, have not had any hair under my arms and hardly any on my legs. It is not the result of having some hidden illness, it's just your genes and my mom was the same way.

    April 12, 2011 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • carolae

      Forgot to add....NEVER had to take any meds for menopause. The hot flashes were not that bad and I welcomed them, especially when it was cold out. Too many doctors are pushing meds and they can do more harm than good. Also, never had any mood swings and was always full of energy.

      April 12, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
  29. Ur-in-trouble

    There are no periods in this sentence

    April 12, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Bongani

    Hi i just want to find out my wife just stop mentruating for the period of 2 years she whats happen nd with sleep without condom for almost a year and i have a baby to the other girl friend and her she never get pregnant plz help i love her

    May 5, 2015 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.