When Your Period Is Missing, But All the Other Signs Are There

Ever had one of those months where all the signs and symptoms of your period are there—the bloating, cramping, breast tenderness, overall achiness, and more—but there’s no bleeding? If so, you’re definitely not alone. This is pretty common and can happen for a number of different reasons, from pregnancy to hormonal birth control to stress. Keep reading to learn about a few different situations where you might experience period symptoms even without your monthly flow.

Asian woman stomachache, feel pain for period conceptAsian woman stomachache, feel pain for period concept

You could be pregnant
In some cases, your period symptoms may not be period symptoms at all. You might actually be pregnant. A lot of the early symptoms of pregnancy are similar to those you experience when you have your period—things like breast tenderness, cramping, fatigue, headaches, and fluctuating mood. You may want to take a birth control test, especially if you’ve had unprotected sex within the last month. But don’t freak out, there are also a whole bunch of other reasons why you may not be experiencing your monthly flow.

You’re experiencing something common called anovulation.
The term anovulation isn’t very well known considering how common the condition is. Women typically ovulate each month, but when anovulation occurs, the ovaries do not release an egg. Despite an egg not being released, the body still  experiences many of the standard changes that come along with a typical monthly period. Meaning, you’ll still feel like you have your period, but you won’t actually be ovulating or experience bleeding. And in some cases that make this matter even more tricky to understand, women may still bleed even when they’re experiencing anovulation.

Your birth control method may be interfering.
If you have an IUD or take birth control pills, these can interfere with your monthly period in a way that makes your period disappear despite other symptoms sticking around. For women taking hormonal birth control, a month or two of missed periods typically isn’t a cause for concern—often the missed period can be attributed to the hormones in the pill. And sometimes the period is still there, it’s just so light you don’t really notice it.

Likewise, IUDs can also contribute to missed periods. Your experience will depend on exactly which type of IUD you have, but hormonal IUDs often contribute to skipped or missed periods.

Your stress levels have been through the roof.
If you’ve been experiencing high levels of stress lately, this could definitely be the reason behind your missed period. When you’re stressed, your body often releases cortisol, which can subsequently affect your menstrual cycle . Stress can cause all sorts of changes, from a longer or shorter period than usual to no period at all.

You’ve recently changed your diet.
Changes in diet can play a big role in affecting your menstrual cycle as well. All sorts of dietary changes can contribute to a missed period, from a recent shift toward consuming less calories to changes in the type of food you eat. Nutrition has a big impact on hormone levels in the body, so to experience changes to ones period after a dietary shift shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

You’re approaching menopause.
As you move closer to menopause, your period becomes more irregular and may even be skipped. At the same time, hormone imbalances are common and can contribute to cramping and other symptoms that feel similar to those you experience when you have your period.

If you have any concerns about missed periods and period symptoms, speaking with a knowledgeable doctor is a great idea. Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) has physicians on staff who are here to help you. To make an appointment,, call  602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.

Checking Your IUD Strings 101

Some of the most common IUD-related concerns relate to IUD strings, so we’re here to fill you in on the most important information. Read on for some of the common questions women have about their IUD strings.

IUD stock image

Do I need to check on my IUD strings?

Your IUD strings (usually one or two) hang from your cervix into your vagina. While it’s not necessarily required, doctors recommend checking that they’re still in place every so often, mainly to make sure the IUD is where it should be. Luckily, it’s not too hard to make sure your strings are in place.

You’ll want to wash your hands. Then make your way into a sitting or squatting position and gently insert a finger into your vagina. You should feel strings hanging down sometime before your finger reaches your cervix. If you feel the strings, this indicates your IUD is most likely in the right place and functioning properly.

My IUD strings aren’t where they should be. What’s wrong?

When checking for IUD strings, some women are unsuccessful. If your IUD strings aren’t hanging into the vagina from the cervix, this could be for a few different reasons. Here are some of the most common:

  • Expulsion: In rare cases your IUD can actually fall out of your uterus. When this happens, it’s usually within the first year or so after insertion.
  • Short strings: In some cases, the IUD strings are cut very short and may not hang low enough for you to feel them. The strings could also be bunched or curled up in the cervix or along the side of the vagina.
  • Perforation: In a very tiny number of cases, the IUD can break through the wall of the uterus or cervix. This is a bit more common among women who are breastfeeding or have recently given birth. Pain, cramping, and spotting are all signs of a possible perforation.

What should I do if I can’t feel my IUD strings?
If your IUD strings are missing, there’s a chance your IUD is either no longer present or not working properly. The best way to determine what’s going on is to see a doctor. In the meantime, you’ll want to be sure to use backup contraceptives until you figure out the source of your missing strings—just in case your IUD has moved out of position and is no longer effective. You’ll want to seek medical attention rather than taking the matter into your own hands.

If you have questions or concerns about an IUD or checking your IUD strings, you can speak with a knowledgeable doctor by calling Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visiting www.aoafamily.com.