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Do I Need to See a Doctor About My Period?

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Created: April 05, 2005

Question: Do I Need to See a Doctor About My Period?
Answer: You should seek the advice of your health care provider if:

  • Your periods have not started by the time you are 16. This is a sign of primary amenorrhea.

  • You have had periods and they suddenly stop. There are many reasons, other than pregnancy, for missed periods.

  • Your period lasts too long. The average woman menstruates for 5 to 7 days during each period.

  • You’re bleeding is excessive – a good way to tell if you are bleeding excessively is to note how often you are changing pads or tampons – if it’s as often as every hour or two then your menstrual bleeding may be excessive. Abnormal uterine bleeding is often caused by fibroid tumors; other less common causes include cervical cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease or PID.

  • All of a sudden you feel sick and you are using tampons. This may be a sign of a rare condition often associated with tampons called Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS. Symptoms of TSS include a sudden high fever and a rash that looks like a sunburn.

  • Bleeding between periods, of more than a few drops, should be evaluated by your health care provider. Many conditions are linked to bleeding between periods including low thyroid levels, stress, and hormonal fluctuations.

  • Severe or disabling menstrual cramps should be reported to your health care provider. Dysmenorrhea (painful periods) is experienced by fifty percent of women for one or two days during menstruation.
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