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Avatar universal

Periods that last WAY too long

I am a 20 year-old (virgin) female, and for the last three years, I have been having very irregular periods. I started menstruation at the age of 10 (which is about average for the females in my family--I even have a cousin who started when she was 8), and up until I was seventeen, my periods were VERY regular. I had a period exactly every 21 days, and it would last no longer than four days. In fact, I could always determine the EXACT day each month when I would start and stop. The only irregular thing about my periods was that I would have some light spotting each month, but when I had a check up from my doctor, she said that it was just ovulation that was causing the spotting--a problem that a lot of women have. But when I was seventeen, my periods started to go completely haywire. It started with my period being almost a week late, but since I was a junior in high school and facing the stress of final exam week, I thought that might have something to do with it. According to my "normal" calendar", I should have started my period on April 22nd and stopped on April 26th. However, though my period was normal for these four days, I continued to spot a little after my period should have been over. Then, on the second of May, I was shocked when I started bleeding heavily as if I started my period again. This heavy bleeding, in which I had moderate cramps and (at times) passed clots the size of a golf ball, lasted from the 2nd of May until the 21st of the same month. Three weeks later, I had a period again and it last about three weeks as well. Since mid 2008, this has been happening over and over. I never really know anymore when I will get my period or how long it will last. Though I usuallly get one every three or four weeks, it can sometimes be as long as six weeks. And I never have a period that lasts for less than two weeks, though it can sometimes last up to 24 or so days. I know I should have had this checked out long ago, but I guess I was easily talked out of it by all of those commercials that state that more than 30% of women have irregular menstrual cycles. But I am tired, both mentally and physically of going through this. My iron levels are really low, and I have not been allowed to donate blood for the last couple of years. I am also worried that my ability to have children may have been put in jeopardy because I've allowed this to go on for so long. I am a single college student with no medical insurance, but I know that is no excuse for me not taking my butt to the ER . Does anyone have any suggestions for what I should do, or, what might be causing these symptoms? Thanks in advance :)
4 Responses
13167 tn?1327197724
Letting this "go" for this long probably won't put your fertility in jeopardy.  but the fact that you have this condition might.  There is some cycle hormone problem here,  and it probably doesn't matter at this point that it's gone on a little while,  the fact is,  it's present.

This is not an emergency room situation,  that visit will burden the public for about 1000 bucks or more if you don't have the ability to pay.  

Does your college not have a student health center?  Can you go to a minor emergency clinic like a redi clinic where there isn't an outrageous cost to the public for the non-emergency visit?
1569750 tn?1295592754
I can relate to you very similar story periods started off pretty regular almost like clockwork then next thing you know it seems like no sooner than I get off I'm starting again. Now I rarely have one I have PCOS. Not saying that is what you have but something is definitely going on here sweetie...maybe it has something to do with your hormones. I read something about that here recently when I was at the gyno..it was in reference to hormonal imbalance and heavy lengthy periods. I don't remember the exacts but it was advertising relief so there is hope that you can get help with this issue you are having. My suggestion is to go to the health department it is free and you don't have to have insurance. A gyno will help you sort this matter out. I'm hoping everything will be okay for you. Best wishes BB
Avatar universal
Unfortunately, I don't have any of those resources at hand, which has kept me from seeking any kind of attention for this issue. I am a commuter student to the college that I attend, and our "health center" is no more than a small office in which a RNP hands out condoms and/or sexual health pamphlets to curious students. The alternative (or I guess you could say FREE) clinics in my area are only available to the extremely indigent, a classification which I don't meet because I do work two jobs (however benefitless they may be). And as far as the ER goes, I generally share your same attitude. My parents were (and still are) hard-working taxpayers who provided me with healthcare when I lived under their roof, and it thoroughly irritated them when people who could not pay for health insurance took advantage of ER services in non-emergency situations. I was raised with the belief that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and this is why I haven't gone to the ER for any health issues. So, that's where I'm pretty much stuck. I don't qualify for free clinics. I won't go to the ER. My only other option is Planned Parenthood, which provides some reproductive health services at a low cost. But hey, I guess that would technically fall under the Burden on Taxpayers list as well :\
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response. PCOS is definitely something I have researched. One of my close family friends has it, but it began with her suddenly not having periods at all. I know you are not trying to diagnose me or anything, but I do thank you for at least giving me one possibility.
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