I have a free app that tells me when my period should arrive. Before I downloaded it, I was one of those people who was incredibly surprised every time their period landed (which is ridiculous for a woman of my age).
The trouble with knowing when your period should come, is that you’re intensely aware of its absence when it doesn’t show up. Over the three years I’ve been using the app, I can see my period has always been incredibly regular and comes exactly when my app tells me to expect it. Except for this month, and if I’m being pedantic, last month was late too (if only by a few days).
Any normal person would shrug off any minor changes and assume that it would right itself somewhere along the line. But I’m not all that normal, and being the overly dramatic worrier I am I thought I’d better research what horrors almost certainly awaited me.
In case you were wondering, before I checked with Dr Google, I thought I might be dying from some sort of cancer of my general reproductive area. After Googling, I decided I probably had a molar pregnancy or an early menopause – both thoughts made me feel a bit sick.
If you don’t like reading about the details of other people’s messed up periods, skip this paragraph (this is your one and only warning). Some time over a month ago, when my period was almost due, I had some really strong cramping that made me think it was coming early. The pain was intense but didn’t last more than 30 minutes, so I didn’t anything about it (apart from during the pain, I warned my husband to be vigilant for catching one of those surprise babies that people have when they don’t know they’re pregnant). My period that month was late and when it arrived it was short and nasty (I was changing my pads hourly and felt pretty worried, but it stopped abruptly so I did nothing).
After that episode, this month’s period didn’t come. When it was a week late I started feeling sick all day, every day (but pregnancy tests were coming back negative so the worry returned).
I started reading about the ‘hook’ effect – where there is too much HCG present to give a positive test result. It’s rare, but can happen in pregnancies of multiples, ectopic pregnancies and molar pregnancies (those weird growths that are mostly hair and teeth) so I decided to go and bother a real-life doctor – just in case.
I was pretty concerned by the time my period was 12 days late, but luckily I was able to get an appointment with the GP.
I didn’t have any tests done, but I explained my situation and the doctor kindly told me it was unlikely that I was dying. Advice without conclusive tests is just someone guessing though, right?
I explained I was worried about a molar pregnancy, and again he told me it probably wasn’t (even though he didn’t do any tests). He said that molar pregnancies were rare and he didn’t think it was something I should be worried about.
(I got pregnant after the morning after pill and had three bleeds before having a healthy daughter, so I’ve learned that rare things still happen.)
The doctor told me that sometimes a period just doesn’t come and I might skip this one altogether. He guessed that I might have polycystic ovaries, based on some symptoms I’ve had over the years and suggested the symptoms may have suddenly got worse because of my weight gain.
But the doctor didn’t test for anything. He tried to reassure me, but didn’t seem remotely concerned. I left the surgery feeling better, but as the days have passed, I’ve wondered if I might have had more thorough treatment if I didn’t have a history of anxiety problems.
Perhaps if I’d listed my symptoms first instead of listing what I was scared my diagnosis would be, the outcome might have been different?
Is “sometimes a period just doesn’t come” an appropriate answer in this situation? What do you think?
If you’re reading this and your periods have been arriving, you might like this period subscription box review!