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Stress or pregnancy related delay in periods - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Menstruation and Miscarriage
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 37 Questions
User :   I am 7 days late on my menstrual cycle, last date of unprotected sex was on 7/11/2010, LMP 6/16 and was due to start my cycle on 7/13. I have taken several urine pregnancy tests that resulted negative, last night I took a urine digital test that indicated pregnant. I repeated the test this morning and it read not pregnant. I went to the clinic this morning and had a serum pregnancy test that came back negative. I am confused. I do not have feelings that my cycle will soon start and I am normally very regular. I am concerned that perhaps I ovulated late and perhaps the hcg levels in my blood/urine are not very high. If indeed I am not pregnant why have I still not had my period and what would cause the positive pregnancy test last night?
Doctor :   Hi
User :   hello
Doctor :   Let me read the query.
Doctor :   May I know your age?
User :   31
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   Let me brief you.
User :   ok
Doctor :   Urine pregnancy test and blood hcg tests looks at the levels of HCG which is a hormone.
User :   yes
Doctor :   And as you already know, presence of this hormones in high levels indicates pregnancy.
Doctor :   Occasionally this hormone may take some time before it reaches sufficient levels to be detected in the urine strips, alternatively levels of these hormones can be altered by few other factors.
Doctor :   Factors such as use of certain drugs such as contraceptive drugs.
Doctor :   Hence the discrepancy.
User :   The PA at the clinic told me not to be concerned at all it is negative.
User :   I am not currently on any medications at all
User :   no PMH
Doctor :   Ok.
Doctor :   There is also another possible explanation.
Doctor :   The second possibility is that the test that you had with the urine digital test may have been wrong.
Doctor :   In such cases the likely causes for this delay may be
User :   yes i have considered that which is why I retook it.
Doctor :   excessive stress, recent infection, reduced nutrition and so on.
User :   is it possible to have ovulated late and still be pregnant?
Doctor :   The time of ovulation is unrelated to pregnancy.
User :   i can't think of any additional stressors (other than this), or changes in diet etc
Doctor :   Its the period of pregnancy that decides the level of hcg.
User :   meaning? how far along?
Doctor :   The values of HCG starts rising in about a week following begining of pregnancy,
Doctor :   which is related to the time of the sexual intercourse.
User :   following implantation or fertilization?
Doctor :   the levels start rising following implanation.
Doctor :   Which again is related to the time of sexual intercourse and not the period of ovulation.
User :   ok
Doctor :   Hence my suggestions are as follows.
User :   so now what?
User :   ok
Doctor :   1. Since you are worried of pregnancy, you can repeat the pregnancy test after a week, that is if your symptoms persist.
Doctor :   2. If your period have been regular in the past, the cause for the present delay may be a benign cause as explained to you.
Doctor :   They usually settle on itself and do not need any specific treatment.
Doctor :   You need good nutrition and regular sleep along with avoiding stressor to aid its recovery.
User :   i understand
Doctor :   3. Very rarely if your symptoms persists, that is if your periods are again not regular in the subsequent months, you would need evaluation.
Doctor :   Evaluation for other medical causes for irregular periods such as anaemia, thyroid dysfunctions, ovarian causes.
Doctor :   Have you followed what I have suggested?
User :   she checked my TSH, etc today also
Doctor :   Ok
User :   I understand you suggestions.....if Im still concerned retest in a week, otherwise eat, sleep, and try to be merry.
Doctor :   I would recommend the repeat of the test if your period does not occur till then.
Doctor :   In the mean time be regular with your diet and avoid anxiety and stressors.
User :   will do, and you are referring to urine as opposed to serum?
User :   I work in an ED...stress is my life. :-)
Doctor :   If you can get the serum HCG test that would be better than the urine pregnancy test.
Doctor :   Although it is not compulsory that you get the blood test alone.
Doctor :   Stress is one of the major factors in many women suffering from irregular periods.
User :   ok, and you mentioned infection? Such as a UTI, I thought I may have had one d/t urinary frequency by strangely that came back negative also.
Doctor :   Since your work involves stress, its better that you get involved in meditation, yoga and physical exercises for good stress management.
Doctor :   Recent infections mainly serious ones is also one of the known causes of menstrual irregularities.
Doctor :   Do you have any further query?
User :   ok, well thank you for your time.
Doctor :   Thanks for consulting me. Bye for now. Please refer your friends to our service.
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