10 May 2008

I missed a period; am I pregnant?

I did not get my menstrual period last month and I went for a pregnancy test, which was negative. However, I still have the symptoms I usually have if my period is coming, such as my breasts getting fuller. I also have white vaginal discharges. Am I in good condition and health? I am so worried.

lauren delrio

Hi Sarah,

It sounds like you are worried about being pregnant because of full breasts, white discharges and an absent period, although your pregnancy test came out negative.

Full breasts are a sign of an upcoming period for some people, but not in others. One early warning sign of pregnancy is if your breasts become unusually tender and sore. As for discharge, the amount of discharge from the vagina varies depending on what stage you are on in the menstrual cycle.

Different people experience different amounts at different points in time, and while it can be an indicator of your upcoming period if you pay close attention to your body, discharge alone is usually not an indicator of pregnancy. The symptom that makes it possible that you are pregnant is, of course, the absent period.

Most pregnancy tests, when used after you were supposed to get the absent period, are approximately 99% effective. If your first test came out negative and you have not had your period in the next week, I would advise taking another test.

If the second test comes out positive, then it is extremely likely you are pregnant, and you should see your doctor. If it comes out negative, another more sensitive and specific test is to get a blood test measuring the level of human chorionic gonadotropin, the hormone that increases in your blood when you are pregnant. You can get this test in any emergency room as well as at your local medical clinic.

If this test is also negative, there could be other reasons for your absent period. A high level of stress can sometimes interfere with your menstrual cycle, as well as changes in weight and medication.

If you have missed a period, making an appointment to discuss your situation with your doctor may help you feel less nervous about the missed period as well as determine the reason you missed it.

A missed period may not necessarily mean something is wrong, either. I have known several people who skipped periods simply because their cycles were not regular. I hope this helps, and please do not hesitate to write back if you have any other questions.

Good luck!

Lauren, for AlterHeroes