2:01 pm - 09/13/2009

help! period coming earlier and earlier every month

Hi everyone!

At the beginning of this year I tried two different HBC's, I went on one pill for about a month and had really extreme side effects, so I switched to another for about 2 months and also had really extreme reactions. So I stopped taking birth control about April, 5 months ago. Historically my period is always very reliable, I spot lightly for one day, then heavy for two days, spotting again for one, then gone.

Over the past three months, my period has been coming earlier and earlier. It used to come on the 19th, but lately I've started spotting on the 8th or 9th, so I spot for 10 days before my actual period comes. It's really frustrating, it's like having my period for a fortnight. The spotting is enough that I have to wear a pad or liner, then my proper period comes on the due date. I'm wondering what's going on. The thing is the spotting seems to be happening earlier each month, at first it was a few days before the 19th, then a week, now 10 days. It's pretty annoying. By the time I'm done with my period, I only have a week and a half break before it starts again.

Mostly I'm concerned because my period is usually so reliable. Could it really be taking my body THAT long to readjust after HBC? I'm not in extremely close contact with any other women so I doubt my body is synching. Could it be stress?
abbydabby 13th-Sep-2009 05:42 am (UTC)
It can take as long as a year for your body to readjust after HBC. That said, it seems like you're saying that your cycle is 19 days long, and you start spotting about 10 days before you bleed. That sounds like ovulation spotting, which is pretty normal in and of itself. The luteal phase of your cycle (the post-ovulation part of your cycle) features a spike of progesterone which is what causes the spiking as well as a slight rise in body temperature. It's also pretty standard fare to spot a day or few before you actually start your next cycle, so it could just be that both are happening to you.

Stress typically only affects the first half of your cycle, the pre-ovulatory phase. Basically your body won't drop an egg if you're too sick or stressed out (which for everyone means something different). The luteal phase should be consistent, and that is, depending on the woman, usually between 10-14 days.

I would recommend charting your cycle for at least the next few months to see if you can find a pattern. Taking Charge of Your Fertility is an awesome comprehensive book that breaks it down in easy-to-understand language. I recommend finding it in your library and photocopying the charts in there.

Hope this helps!
crashing_buses 13th-Sep-2009 05:51 am (UTC)
this was really helpful, thanks so much! I've been meaning to start tracking my cycles in a more detailed way, that looks like a great resource.

Is it normal to get ovulation spotting after never having had it before, in 15 years of menstruation? I guess I'm curious whether it's a natural change in my body's cycles or whether it's a reaction to HBC.
abbydabby 13th-Sep-2009 06:01 am (UTC)
Our bodies are ever-changing. The older we get the more our fertility shifts, and that means hormones shifting. So it could be, hypothetically, one or the other, or even both. Not much of an answer :)
fireaphid 13th-Sep-2009 07:13 am (UTC)
So what day of the month your period comes isn't as relevant as how many days after your last one it is. I agree that tracking more thoroughly might help you figure out what's going on, and that stress may be the culprit. You can do it online with simple tools like http://monthlyinfo.com/ or ones with more features like http://www.mymonthlycycles.com/.

And while it is possible to start getting pre-period and ovulation spotting after not getting them for many years, if you're only getting about 10 days of non-bleeding per month, you might want to see a doctor and have them test your hormone levels just to make sure it's not due to an imbalance, as cycle irregularity is one of the most common ways that thyroid issues make themselves known.
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