Irregular periods warrant check with physician

TOTS TO TEENS

March 22, 1994|By Modena Wilson, M.D. and Alain Joffe, M.D. | Modena Wilson, M.D. and Alain Joffe, M.D.,Special to The Sun

Q: I Would like to know why my period skips months sometimes. I skip six to 11 months. The times my period doesn't come, I still have cramps, headaches and backaches.

A: Without knowing a bit more about you, it is difficult for us to give you a definite answer abut what is happening to you. Many girls will have irregular periods right after they first start menstruating. They may have a period, skip several months, have another and then skip a few more months yet again.

If it's been more than two years since your first period, skipping six to 11 months is definitely not normal. We suggest you check with your doctor to find out what is going on.

A teen-ager's menstrual cycle is controlled by a variety of different factors and can easily be disturbed. Things such as significant change in your weight, a problem with your thyroid gland, an illness like diabetes, intense exercise or a lot of stress all can affect your body's ability to maintain regular menstrual cycles. Some of these conditions are fairly obvious but others may require a thorough physical examination and a lot of blood tests.

We encourage you to share your concern with your parents and see a doctor soon. Many of the problems that may be causing you to skip periods can be corrected relatively easily once they are identified. Then you won't have to worry any longer about what could be wrong with you.

Dr. Wilson is director of general pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.

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