#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Could I Be Pregnant?

Q: Dear doctor I haven’t seen my period for October and November; then on the 6th of December I broke my virginity using the withdrawal method and on the 8th again I had unprotected sex. Then on the 10th I had a pinkish discharges that turned in to red. I went jogging that day then it stopped on the 11th could I be pregnant??? My periods are always irregular

A: Withdrawal method involves pulling the male organ out of the vagina just before ejaculation. This method may protect against pregnancy if used well but does not protect against STIs. It has been argued in some quarters that the pre-ejaculate (a lubricating fluid) may contain some sperm cells and so even if your partner is able to withdraw before ejaculation, the harm would have been done. However, the sperm in the pre-ejaculate is not there at the time the fluid is produced, but is sperm from previous ejaculations that was probably left in the urethra. It is believed that urinating and cleaning the tip of the penis before sexual intercourse helps to clear the urethra of the sperm left from previous ejaculations.

So, given the recent history of unprotected intercourse, it could very well be that you are pregnant – this is your most usual ‘go to’ question when a period is ‘missing’ and is a key reason for delay of menstrual periods for 9 months J In your case, it’s a little too early to tell.

On the regularity of your period…

A ‘regular’ menstrual cycle is supposedly one in which the cycle (the length of time from the 1st day of a menstrual period to the first day of the next menstrual period) is about 28 days but there is nothing abnormal about cycles that fall outside of this range. It could range from about 24 days to 34 days with ovulation happening at mid cycle. Indeed, in some women each period appears to have a different cycle. For young girls who have just started menstruating, skipped or irregular periods may occur.

What do people refer to as irregular periods? Well, if the time between each period changes, or the length of days of the period changes or indeed when the quantity of blood lost during each period changes, the period is termed irregular. What can cause these changes? They include:

§ Changes in hormone levels, as is common in the puberty period or menopausal period (not an issue here)

§ Stress

§ Excessive weight loss or excessive weight gain

§ Fibroids

§ Problems with the thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

§ Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD)

§ Scarring from previous surgery in the uterus

§ Breast feeding mothers may also experience irregular periods as the hormones released may delay return of menstruation. Remember, however, that this is not an effective means of contraception.

So, it’s always a good idea to keep a record of your periods: length of cycles, number of days the period lasts, presence of pain etc. If you keep a chart of this over time, you would be able to know what is normal for you.

Treatment of irregular periods depends on cause: fibroids, PCOD, hyperthyroidism all have to be treated. If irregularity is due to stress, learning coping mechanisms or relaxation techniques may help. Reduce weight or go easy on your exercise routine, if weight issues are a problem.

So, you might want to go and see your doctor to check you out.

All the best.

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