There are many things that can cause periods that were once regular to become irregular. You are correct that the best first step is to check several pregnancy tests if you are of childbearing age. If you only checked one pregnancy test, it would be good to repeat the test or be tested by your doctor
to be sure. If pregnancy is not the issue, your age and overall health are important clues to why your menses have become irregular and I recommend discussing it with your doctor. If you are in your forties, irregularities in your cycle may be a sign that you are approaching menopause. A gynecologist could confirm this at a visit by measuring the levels of certain hormones in your blood. Other common causes of irregular menstruation have to do with the effect nutrition has on the balance of hormones that control your cycle. Extreme weight loss, weight gain, eating disorders, and excessive endurance exercise all can cause hormonal imbalance and lead to irregular periods. If you are experiencing a cluster of symptoms including irregular menstruation, obesity, acne
, and excess hair growth, these may actually be signs of a medical condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome that should be diagnosed and treated by a gynecologist. Another common cause of irregularity in the menstrual cycle is initiation, discontinuation, or change of oral contraceptive medication. If you think your symptoms may be related to contraceptive medication, you should inform your physician that you are experiencing these side effects. Your emotional health can also affect your menstrual cycle and extreme emotional stress is well known to cause temporary menstrual irregularity. In rare instances, irregular menstruation can be a sign of diseases such as endometriosis
, pelvic inflammatory disease, or even cancer, so it is very important to visit a gynecologist for a complete examination if you are experiencing irregular periods. Examination in person by a physician is the only way to determine with certainty the cause of your irregular menstruation and be offered the appropriate treatment.