Making Sense of Menstrual Problems. Part 3

Irregular cycles — It’s normal to have irregular cycles in the first two years after your periods begin. That’s because it can take two years (or longer) until your ovaries release an egg fairly regularly with each cycle. Because of this, periods may skip a month or more, and when they do come they may be short or long, light or heavy. Your cycles should eventually become regular. If they don’t, a medical condition could be responsible.
Definitely see your doctor if:

You’re not sure if your irregular periods are normal.
You have a lot of pain with your periods.
Your bleeding seems unusually heavy or prolonged (Your mom can help you figure that out).
Your periods don’t become regular by two years after they first start.
Keeping a menstrual calendar can be very helpful when discussing your periods with your doctor.

Remember: There is a wide range of normal when it comes to periods — when they start, how often they occur, how long they last and how much blood is lost.

Common Menstrual Problems
Common menstrual problems include not getting your periods, abnormal vaginal bleeding, menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Read about these in Learn More.

Don’t Ignore Period Problems If you have a problem with your period, don’t despair. See your doctor to find out just what’s going on. Maybe your periods are totally normal and they just need time to become regular. Or maybe you really do have a medical problem that needs attention.

Don’t avoid seeing your doctor because you’re afraid of having a pelvic exam. You might not even need one, but if you do, your doctor can explain what it’s all about. You can also read about the pelvic exam in “The Pelvic Exam Explained.”

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