Where is my period?
April 21, 2009 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Where is my period?

After more than 10 years on the pill (on and off over the last 15 years; I am 33) I recently stopped taking birth control (I was on Yasmin) in order to try and conceive later this year. Although previously I had never messed around with the pack to time my period, I stopped mid-pack (in order to avoid a period while traveling overseas). I took 11 active pills with the last pill taken on March 11. I had a light period from March 14 - 16 and since then no bleeding. By my calculation I am now on day 39 of my 'cycle' and have had unprotected sex 5 or 6 times. I have taken a couple of a pregnancy tests (one a week ago and one today) and they both came back negative. I know that the test may not be accurate in the early days of pregnancy but I don't know when my period is due.

I have a doctor's appointment later this week and will explain all of this then but would like to know your experience...

My question is: where is my period? could I be pregnant? how long did it take your cycle to return to 'normal' following a long time on the pill?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This instance may just be a fluke. However, another possibility is that you may have PCOS. Of course, you would probably be experiencing other symptoms as well in addition to missing periods. Learn more through links here, here, and here. Best wishes.
posted by cloudsandstars at 9:00 AM on April 21, 2009

When my wife went off the pill, they told her that (rule of thumb) it would take around (.75 * years on) months before she would be back to her baseline.

So using that, we'd see 6-8 month for you, give or take.
posted by unixrat at 9:00 AM on April 21, 2009

What unixrat said. After so many years on hormones, your body needs to regulate. I've seen three different girlfriends come off the pill while we were dating, and they were all different. One didn't get her period for four months. One got it a couple weeks afterwards. None were trying to get pregnant, so I can't speak to what to expect in that area, but you'll definitely have to be patient for your body's functions to return to normal.
posted by incessant at 9:10 AM on April 21, 2009

You need a few more months for your body to regulate itself, and you probably shouldn't try to become pregnant during that time since your chances of miscarriage may be higher (IANAD, but this was my personal experience and that of a friend).
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:30 AM on April 21, 2009

Between being on the pill (for only about 3 or 4 years) and my 1st pregnancy, my periods ranged from every four weeks to every six weeks or so. It took me almost a year to get pregnant (at 25.)
posted by artychoke at 9:41 AM on April 21, 2009

Agree with above; classic teaching is that it often takes anywhere between 3-6 months to regain your periods/regular cycles after being on birth control.
posted by gramcracker at 9:57 AM on April 21, 2009

When I went off the pill after taking it for 8 years, I didn't have a period for six months. However, during that time I did grow cysts that completely covered my ovaries, which stopped me from ovulating anyway. The only way I knew was by going to the doctor and having a sonogram. I knew I wasn't pregnant, though, as I didn't have sex during that time. Getting back on birth control caused the cysts to shrink and disappear.

Do you have fibroid tissue in your breasts or a family history of cysts or PCOS? That could be it. I didn't know I had them until I tried to stop birth control and was told I had to stay on it pretty much for life after that or the cysts would come back.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:03 AM on April 21, 2009

I think it's really variable. I got pregnant twice right after going off the pill, but I was a little younger. This ambiguity may make it a little trickier for you to date the pregnancy if you are pregnant, but your OB can tell a lot from measuring your growth early on. Good luck!
posted by lakeroon at 10:23 AM on April 21, 2009

It varies so much. I ovulated (and conceived!) three weeks after taking my last pill, and I was on the pill for about 5 years. A friend of mine took well over a year to conceive after going off the pill. I think both are variations of normal. The nurse at my doctor's office said people are very frequently surprised by how quickly or slowly they get pregnant after discontinuing oral contraceptives. Being on cycle day 39 hardly seems unusual to me given your circumstances, and I think it's way premature to be worrying about PCOS or other reproductive problems. The most likely scenario is that you're just not ovulating yet.

You absolutely could be pregnant - I was positive, absolutely positive, that I was pregnant, but pregnancy tests were all negative for the first week I tested. If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and buy a big pack of cheap pregnancy tests from the internet (~$1 apiece), you can confirm with a $10 drug store test when you get a positive.

Good luck!

(Also, I don't think there's any increased miscarriage risk with pregnancy shortly after discontinuing oral contraceptives. Unfortunately, there's about a 25% early miscarriage rate for all known pregnancies, which is terrifyingly high no matter when you conceive. So don't wait on account of that. I think the biggest drawback is unknown dating, but early ultrasound is very accurate for dating purposes, and if you're taking pregnancy test somewhat regularly, the timing of your first positive will date your pregnancy within a week or two anyway.)
posted by robinpME at 10:48 AM on April 21, 2009

You could be pregnant, sure. I got pregnant a few weeks after going off the pill at age 32. The half life of the hormones isn't very long, they are all out of your system in a few days.
posted by gaspode at 10:49 AM on April 21, 2009

It only took about 4 months off the pill (about 15 years on!) before I conceived. Get the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and learn how to monitor your basal temperature. This can help you determine when you are ovulating as well as the length of your cycle. Most women don't have a 28 day cycle; mine was around 54 days. I kept track of everything and know the exact day my baby was conceived. Until you have a period, though, or confirm you're pregnant, check with PG tests.
Good luck! What an exciting time for you.
posted by FergieBelle at 11:10 AM on April 21, 2009

I was on the pill for 6 years and then I went off it for 6 months. I menstruated right on cue. However, it took about 3 cycles for the ill-effects of not taking the pill (cramps, heavy flow) to kick in so I guess that's when it wore off.
posted by cranberrymonger at 1:18 PM on April 21, 2009

After only 1 year on the pill it took me 4 months before I had a period after quitting.
So along with everyone else, I say it may take a while to get back to normal. Good luck, but try to be patient.
posted by dormouse at 2:08 PM on April 21, 2009

I had been on the pill for about 7 years when I stopped. In the first few months, I had crazy cycles. I went over 60 days before getting one, and others went over 45 days. After about a year of that, and trying to conceive with the help of Taking Charge of you Fertility, I went to the GYN. A prescription for Clomid seemed to knock my cycle back into order, although I still had trouble conceiving.
posted by saffry at 2:56 PM on April 21, 2009

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