11:43 pm - 01/24/2006

43+ day menstrual cycle - what's going on? 22 years old

I came off of OTC after 3 years the beginning of december 2004. The first 3 months off of the pill my cycle ranged between 30 and 32 days. After those 3 months, my cycle length spiked, and the shortest cycle I have had since april 2005 has been 37 days. Most of them clock in around 42 days. Right now I'm on day 43 and it looks like I might get my period tomorrow. Before I was on the pill my periods were irregular, but never any longer than about 34 days.

I eat well and don't lead a particularly stressful life. I am 5'6 / 110lbs and not in terrible shape. I've read that increased cycle length could be a symptom of PCOS, but I have no other PCOS-related symptoms. I also read that increased cycle lengths are associated with diabetes, which concerns me a bit because I have many symptoms associated with diabetes, including recurring yeast infections, vaginitis, and UTIs, constant thirst/hunger (I'm a bottomless pit!), fatigue, being a skinny runt, and blurred vision/confusion if I do not eat. I was tested for suspected the disease twice between the ages of 14 - 17, but the results did not show diabetes.

Could it be possible that I just have really long cycles? Is this something I should be concerned about? It's great not having a period for 5 weeks, but it's a little odd as well. The earliest appointment I could get with my doctor was for the end of february (getting yearly pap done!), so I am looking for some casual advice/insight from you folks in the meantime.

Does anybody have any clue as to why my cycles might be so long? Does anybody else have an insanely long cycle? Should I be going out to a drop-in clinic ASAP to talk to a doctor about this? Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

P.S. I <3 vaginas!
peppermint_eel 25th-Jan-2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
I signed up there last night! It looks great. Thanks for sharing -- makes me feel better, believe me.
the_lost_hobbit 25th-Jan-2006 07:54 am (UTC)
I've had a similar experience with lenghtening cycles. When I got off HBC, after using it for a couple of years, my cycle started to come longer and longer. My cycle had always been pretty long, 30-35 days, and not regular at all. However, after stopping using the pill my periods would gradually become farther and farther apart. After a year my periods would be six weeks apart. I found this very frustrating, because I would always get paranoid about being pregnant, even if it wasn't possible. Eventually, I went back on the pill just to escape this inconvenience. My doctor didn't think it was anything dangerous at the time, and over time my hormones should have gotten 'back on track'. I wasn't prepared to wait for that though and opted to go back on pill instead.

However, if you are worried about having diabetes, you should take it up with your doctor when you see them. Many people develop the disease while they are children, but it's possible to get type 1 diabetes later in your life as well.
peppermint_eel 25th-Jan-2006 02:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your insight! Going back on any kind of HBC is not an option for me, because I went off the pill after deciding I'd rather use condoms and face an unexpected pregnancy than be unable to function in the world (due to bad depression, barfing, having headaches all the time, all the lovely side effects that sometimes happen with HBC). I'm too terrified to try any other kind of HBC now, maybe forever, so it looks like I'll just have to live with the long cycle. At least it doesn't seem to be too out-of-the-ordinary.
the_lost_hobbit 25th-Jan-2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
I'm glad if I was able to be of help! :-) Apparently, as you say, longer cycles aren't that unusual. When my periods kept getting farther and farther apart, I had never heard of it, and was rather freaked. Repeatedly. And I know what you mean about depression. I just recently changed brands due to depression, and for the moment I'm doing well. I just wish I had been able to put two and two together sooner, and realised it was the pill that was causing my depression.
mutt182 25th-Jan-2006 09:08 am (UTC)
I had the same problem after coming off the pill. my last 8 or so periods were around 52 days, but last month I finally got one around 36 days so they're getting closer. x
peppermint_eel 25th-Jan-2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
Craziness.. thanks for the input!
restlesspoetry 25th-Jan-2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
mine are the same way! the last three months they've ranged from 32 to 53 days long. it's sort of strange. sorry, no advice, just thought i'd share.
peppermint_eel 25th-Jan-2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing! Makes me feel a little more normal!
cathubodva 25th-Jan-2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
My mom is forty, and when not on HBC her periods have always been longer than they were "supposed" to be. She's in perfect health, and became pregnant twice within two months of stopping birth control both times. So I wouldn't worry about it unless you have other symptoms.
laughing_shadow 25th-Jan-2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
I'm no expert here, but I did a bit of googling a few weeks back on irregular menstrual cycles. A lot of the stuff I came up with said a 42-day cycle was at the outer limit of a normal menstrual cycle, and also that limited period irregularity (a few days, even a week) is also quite a normal occurence. From this information it would seem that yes, you may just have a really long cycle.

Still, it's probably a good idea to discuss it with your doctor (there might actually be something wrong, or the information I've been looking at might be bogus), but I think you can safely wait a few weeks without too much worry (: Incidentally, my menstrual cycle is a bit wacky too, and like you I eat well/stress less. I freaked out when I read up on PCOS, but... no symptoms other than weird periods. It's odd.

P.S. Also, massive vagina <333 over here too (;
frolicnaked 26th-Jan-2006 03:16 am (UTC)
Since I started tracking my cycle about 5 years ago, mine have generally ranged between 38 and 45 days. (Though 42 to 45 day cycles are the most common, and I have had 36 day cycles and 72 day cycles.)

I have been tested for PCOS and other hormonal imbalances that could be contributing to this: negative. I've also been tested for diabetes, as pretty much every older relative I have has it, but apparently, I don't.

Were I in your situation, I'd still talk to a doctor to discuss what might be contributing to your longer cycles if it's at all feasible. Better overly cautious than not treating a condition that needs treatment.

That said, I really do just have long cycles. :)

notforked 26th-Jan-2006 03:43 am (UTC)
I can't really help you (I'm only 15 and very ignorant), but I also have an insanely long (although extremely irregular) cycle. I get my period about five times a year, I think, though that's guesswork. I haven't done the math.
meggers229 27th-Jan-2006 03:07 am (UTC)
when i took a break from bcps i had the same problem; my cycles were all messed up. one month id have a 40+ day cycle, the next id spot for 2 weeks and then have no period for weeks on end. finally i got fed up with the irregularity and went back on bc. my gyno said that occasionally it can take up to 4 months for the body to regulate itself again after stopping the meds...luckily, things are much better now. :)
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