Delayed Menstrual Periods: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Menstrual flow

Some young women start their menstrual periods later than others. They may have pubic hair and breasts but still not have periods. When a woman does not get her period every month as expected or does not get her first period by the time she is 16, it is called amenorrhea.

Amenorrhea can happen for many reasons. Sometimes it's caused by a problem with the reproductive organs or another medical problem. Other times it's caused by doing hard exercise for long periods of time. It can also happen if you don't eat well or if you diet too much or have an eating disorder. Pregnancy and certain types of birth control can also delay your periods.

Your doctor will want to find why your period hasn't started. You may need to make some diet and exercise changes. These may help start your period. Or you may need treatment for another problem.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what a healthy weight is for you.
  • Get regular exercise. But do not do hard, long exercise. Ask your doctor how much is too much.
  • If you are embarrassed about not having your period yet, talk to family members about how you are feeling. You can also talk to your doctor or a counsellor.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You are upset or depressed about not starting your period.
  • You have not menstruated yet and are age 16 or older.
  • You had regular periods and now you have stopped having periods.
  • You think you might be pregnant.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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