Are you living with lupus (SLE) and experiencing problems with your monthly period? (Like, not getting it. Or having a really heavy, long period.) And have you ever wondered how lupus might play a role in this? Read on.
What does the research show?
Small studies have found that people with SLE are at greater risk of menstrual irregularities compared to the general/healthy population. The greatest type of irregularity appears to be sustained amenorrhoea (long-term absence of a period). Some people with SLE experience premature menopause.
These factors may increase the risk of period irregularities:
- Being age 30+
- Being on cyclophosphamide therapy (a chemotherapy drug)
- Taking immunosupressants (see a list of immunosupressive medications used to treat lupus)
If you’re not getting your period (at any age), tell your doctor and ask how your lupus, treatments and other factors (such as menopause or any other health conditions you may have, like polycystic ovary syndrome) could be affecting “Aunt Flo.”
If you are getting a heavy or prolonged period, it’s also important to talk with your doctor and get checked for anemia, which is already a common problem in people with lupus.
Some women find it helpful to track their period (or lack thereof) on paper or in an app (like one of these) so you can keep close tabs on your cycle.
Period talk on PatientsLikeMe
In our community forums, no issue is taboo. Join PatientsLikeMe or log in to access the following links. Some members have asked about lupus and periods in the forums, including whether some medications may cause irregular or stopped periods and how to manage heavy periods and flares during menstruation.
“I realized that menstruation can cause your body to really go bananas with your lupus,” one member says.