University Health and Counseling Services
Ambrose Center

Your Period - What's Normal, What's Not


UHCS provides evaluation and treatment for menstrual disorders (problems with your period). This may include evaluation of things such as - why you aren’t getting a period when expected (including pregnancy testing), menstrual cramps, PMS, or heavy menstrual bleeding.

From the experts at UHCS:

Did you know that your period is often considered one of your vital signs, like blood pressure and pulse? In fact, your period (or lack thereof) is an important indicator or your health status. If you think about it from the perspective of our ancient ancestors, we used to be hunter-gatherers and food wasn’t abundantly available, so the hormones associated with your period (particularly estrogen and progesterone) let your body know if there’s something amiss that would make getting pregnant at this time a risk for your health. So, for example, if you’re under a lot of stress, or not consuming enough calories compared to what you’re using, you may not get your period on a regular basis. You may think – “great! I don’t want my period right now anyway!” This can also be especially common in female athletes, where it can seem expected for a woman not to get her period during sports season. While this may be common in some sports, going months without a period (when it is not due to pharmacologic treatment) is not healthy. These hormones are very important for your health in general, especially for bone health. In addition, the lack of a regular period does NOT mean you can’t get pregnant (and if you’re at any risk for pregnancy and you go more than 6 weeks without your period, you should be tested right away).

Other times, your period may come TOO often or cause disruptions in your life. Birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives can be the cause of some of these problems, particularly in the first few months of use, but are also often the solution. Hormonal contraceptives help to regulate your period so that it is more predictable, make it lighter, and lessen menstrual cramps. Even if you’re not at risk for pregnancy, they still may be a great tool in managing your menstrual health. There are other, non-hormonal treatments as well, which can be over-the-counter or prescription remedies.

~ Liz Falk, Nurse Practitioner

More Information:

Female Athlete Triad€“ information for athletes about the health concerns associated with amenorrhea (not getting a regular period)

Our Bodies, Ourselves a nonprofit, public interest women’s health organization that serves as a resource for education, advocacy, and consulting.

Web-book appointments and annual exams at UHCS.

Last Updated: 08/12/13


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