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For many women, the menstrual cycle is like clockwork, but during every woman’s life there are times when the cycle is affected for one reason or another. The two most common times, of course, are during pregnancy and in the period leading up to and following menopause. In both cases, the hormonal balance has changed, but there are other times it can occur, and in many cases these need to be worked up through studies and physical exams to find out the reason. One of the most common causes is weight loss, either intentional or related to illness. Stress and excessive exercise also play a role and they can cause changes in the length or frequency of the cycle. Now, if you notice that you’re not regular or have changes, talk it over with your doctor. Often, a simple change can make a difference but you won’t have that answer if you don’t discuss it. Now, I think that’s a very important point. As a woman, talking to your doctor, don’t be afraid to say what you think you need to know.

By: Brian McDonough, M.D., FAAFP