7 Causes of a Late Period That Aren’t Pregnancy-Related

7 Causes of a Late Period That Aren’t Pregnancy-Related

A late period can cause panic and anxiety. While pregnancy can be a cause, there are other medical reasons to be concerned, whether you are trying to get pregnant, not sexually active, or have a female partner. But before you jump to conclusions and assume the worst, take a deep breath and consider that there could be other factors at play.

Today, we’ll explore the possible causes for a late period that aren’t pregnancy-related.

1. Stress

Stress is a significant factor that can affect your menstrual cycle. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can interfere with the release of other hormones responsible for regulating your period. High stress levels can cause an imbalance in these hormones, leading to a late or missed period. If you suspect stress is the cause, try incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, or journaling into your daily routine.

2. Weight Fluctuations

Sudden weight gain or loss can impact your menstrual cycle, as your body needs a certain amount of body fat to produce hormones that regulate your period. Losing a significant amount of weight in a short period or being underweight can cause your body to stop producing these hormones, resulting in irregular periods or missed periods altogether. On the other hand, being overweight can cause hormonal imbalances, leading to irregular periods as well. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is essential for a regular menstrual cycle.

3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. It causes small cysts to form on the ovaries, leading to hormonal imbalances that can result in irregular periods. If you have other symptoms of PCOS, such as excessive hair growth, acne, or weight gain, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

4. Thyroid Issues

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that regulates your metabolism. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause hormonal imbalances that impact your menstrual cycle. If you suspect thyroid issues might be causing your late period, consult your healthcare provider for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.

5. Birth Control Changes

Starting or stopping hormonal birth control can impact your menstrual cycle. It’s common for your body to take some time to adjust to the new hormone levels, which can lead to a late period. Similarly, if you’ve recently stopped using hormonal birth control, it might take a few months for your body to re-establish its natural hormonal balance and regular menstrual cycle.

6. Over-Exercising

Intense physical activity can affect your menstrual cycle, especially if you’re not consuming enough calories to support your energy expenditure. Over-exercising can cause a decrease in body fat, leading to hormonal imbalances that result in irregular or missed periods. Ensure you’re eating a balanced diet and getting enough rest to support your training regimen to maintain a healthy menstrual cycle.

7. Illness

A recent illness or infection can also cause a late period. When your body is fighting off an infection, it can divert resources away from reproductive functions, resulting in a temporary delay in your menstrual cycle. Once your body has recovered, your period should return to its regular schedule.


If you’re experiencing a late period and are confident that pregnancy isn’t the cause, consider these factors that could be impacting your menstrual cycle. Remember that it’s always essential to consult a healthcare provider to discuss any concerns or changes in your menstrual cycle, as some issues may require medical intervention. Regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help ensure a regular and healthy menstrual cycle!

Barbara A. Hessel, MD. FACOG is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist offering the services patients need to maintain good health at all times. If you are looking for an in-office or online telemedicine consultation, schedule an appointment with us today.

What Should You Know Before Your Breast Exam? Part 2

What Should You Know Before Your Breast Exam? Part 2

Breast exams are essential in detecting breast cancer early, which can help improve a person’s chances of successful treatment and recovery. There are different types of breast exams, including clinical breast exams, self-exams, and mammograms. 

Understanding what each type of exam entails and what to expect before going in for one is essential.

Types of Breast Exams

A. Clinical Breast Exam

A clinical breast exam is a physical exam conducted by a healthcare provider. During the exam, your healthcare provider will check your breasts, underarms, and collarbone area for any lumps or abnormalities. They will also check for changes in breast size or shape, skin texture, and nipple discharge.

The exam itself is not painful, but you may feel some discomfort if your healthcare provider needs to press down on any areas. The exam typically lasts a few minutes.

B. Self-Exam

A self-exam is a way for a person to check their breasts for any lumps or abnormalities. It’s recommended that people perform self-exams at least once a month to become familiar with the normal look and feel of their breasts.

To perform a self-exam, start by standing in front of a mirror and visually inspecting your breasts for any changes in size, shape, or skin texture. Next, use the pads of your fingers to feel for lumps or abnormalities in your breasts, starting at the armpit and moving in a circular motion around the breast.

It’s important to note that not all lumps or changes in the breast are cancerous. Still, it’s essential to report any changes to your healthcare provider to determine the cause and receive proper treatment.

C. Mammogram

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that can detect changes or abnormalities that may not be noticeable during a clinical exam or self-exam. Mammograms are typically recommended for women over the age of 40 or those with a family history of breast cancer.

Before the exam, it’s recommended that you avoid wearing any deodorant, lotion, or powder on your breasts or underarms, as these products can interfere with the X-ray. During the exam, your breasts will be compressed between two plates while the X-ray is taken. This can cause some discomfort or pain, but it only lasts a few seconds.

After the exam, you may experience some mild discomfort or bruising. Your healthcare provider will review the results of the mammogram with you and determine if any further testing is needed.

Importance of Regular Breast Exams

Regular breast exams are essential in detecting breast cancer early, which can lead to more successful treatment outcomes. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and early detection is crucial in reducing mortality rates.

Clinical breast exams, self-exams, and mammograms are all important tools in detecting breast cancer. By performing regular self-exams and scheduling regular clinical exams and mammograms with your healthcare provider, you can increase your chances of detecting any abnormalities early.


It’s essential to understand what each type of exam entails and what to expect before going in for one. Clinical breast exams, self-exams, and mammograms are all important tools in detecting breast cancer, and it’s recommended that people schedule regular exams with their healthcare provider.

When it comes to breast health, you can trust Barbara A. Hessel, MD. FACOG. We are an OBGYN clinic in Forest Hills, NY that can help you assess your overall well-being. Schedule an appointment  with us today to learn how.

Understanding Prenatal Care: Questions You Should Ask

Understanding Prenatal Care: Questions You Should Ask

Prenatal care is an essential part of keeping both the mother and the baby healthy during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, or planning on becoming pregnant it’s necessary to understand prenatal care and why it’s essential to ask your OB/GYN questions. Prenatal care involves regular checkups, gynecological exams, and monitoring of the health of the mother and the developing fetus. This article will provide insight into the importance of prenatal care and what questions to ask your OB/GYN.

What is Prenatal Care?

Prenatal care is medical care that pregnant women receive from their healthcare provider. The goal of prenatal care is to ensure the health of the mother and the developing fetus throughout pregnancy. Prenatal care involves regular checkups, tests, and monitoring of the health of the mother and the developing fetus to identify any potential issues early on.

Why is Prenatal Care Important?

Prenatal care is essential for the health of both the mother and the baby. Regular prenatal care can help identify potential problems early on and allow for prompt treatment. Prenatal care can also help prevent complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Additionally, prenatal care can help ensure that the mother receives proper nutrition, guidance on exercise, and emotional support during pregnancy.

Questions to Ask Your OB/GYN About Prenatal Care:

1. How Often Should I Come in for Checkups?

Your OB/GYN will schedule regular checkups throughout your pregnancy to monitor the health of you and your baby. Typically, the frequency of these checkups will increase as your pregnancy progresses. Ask your OB/GYN how often you should come in for checkups and what to expect during each visit.

2. What Tests Will I Need?

Your OB/GYN will likely recommend several tests throughout your pregnancy to monitor your and your baby’s health. These tests can include blood tests, ultrasounds, and genetic screenings. Ask your OB/GYN what tests you can expect and what they will tell you about your baby’s health.

3. How Can I Manage My Symptoms?

Many women experience symptoms during pregnancy, such as nausea, fatigue, and back pain. Ask a certified obstetrician how you can manage these symptoms and if there are any safe medications you can take. Your OB/GYN may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as exercise and diet modifications, to help manage your symptoms.

4. What Should I be Eating?

Nutrition is essential during pregnancy, as it can affect the health of both you and your baby. Ask your OB/GYN what foods you should be eating and what to avoid. You should avoid alcohol, smoking, and drug use even when trying to conceive to that the fetus isn’t exposed. Your OB/GYN will also recommend taking prenatal vitamins to ensure that you’re getting all the necessary nutrients.

5. Can I Exercise During Pregnancy?

Exercise can be safe and beneficial during pregnancy, but it’s essential to do it safely. Ask your OB/GYN what types of exercise are safe during pregnancy and what to avoid. Your OB/GYN may also recommend modifications to your exercise routine as your pregnancy progresses.

6. What Should I Know About Labor and Delivery?

It’s never too early to start preparing for labor and delivery. Ask your OB/GYN what to expect during labor and delivery and what options are available for pain management. Your OB/GYN may also recommend taking childbirth classes to help you prepare.


Prenatal care is an essential part of keeping both the mother and the baby healthy during pregnancy. Regular checkups, tests, and monitoring can help identify potential problems early on and allow for prompt treatment. If you’re pregnant, it’s important to ask your OB/GYN questions about prenatal care to ensure that you’re receiving the best possible care for you and your baby. Remember to ask about checkup frequency, necessary tests, symptom management, nutrition, exercise, and labor and delivery preparation. By understanding prenatal care and asking the right questions, you can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

It’s important to find a trusted professional to provide you with the best care and answer all your questions. Barbara A. Hessel, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who provides comprehensive prenatal care to women in the New York area. Dr. Hessel works carefully and thoughtfully with each patient to ensure that they receive the best care before, during, and after pregnancy. She is committed to providing personalized, comprehensive care in a safe and comfortable environment. To learn more about Dr. Hessel and the services she offers, contact her office today.



Most couples expect getting pregnant to be easy – until it isn’t. After months of trying, frustration and fear can run high and leave you with lots of questions. Finding the cause of infertility can be simple or complex and infertility treatments can vary depending on the cause. Helping you see those two pink lines may be as simple as timing sex during the month or taking medications to release an egg on schedule

Different Solutions For Men and For Women

For men, the most common issues are low sperm and general sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction (ED). For women, you might not be ovulating, or your tubes might be blocked. You might have hormonal imbalances, structural problems with your uterus or endometriosis that needs to be treated to boost your fertility. We won’t know until we look and explore your unique situation.

No Two Patients Are Alike

Because no two patients are alike, we will make sure that you have the proper exams to determine the cause of your problem. We offer in-office labs and minimally invasive testing without radiation exposure from x-rays or other imaging procedures. To make sure the path an egg takes to reach the sperm is clear, we use ultrasound technology and a special device called the FemVue Sono to rule out any problems. Procedures are customized to your unique situation and needs, so not every patient may have the same set of tests.

In the even that you need more advanced procedures like minimally invasive surgery, including hysteroscopy, myomectomy surgery or laparoscopy, you can feel confident with our skill and expertise. We also offer early referrals to fertility specialists for advanced ovulation procedures if we feel it’s right for you.

Facts & Myths About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is always a tragedy because it is 100% preventable by simply abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy.

You may have heard that the occasional glass of wine does not harm a developing fetus. But research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that there is no known “safe” quantity of alcohol during pregnancy. There is also no safe time of day, nor type of alcohol, so the best course of action is to abstain completely.

Symptoms of this lifelong condition include growth problems in the womb and after birth, poor coordination, muscular problems, heart defects, and many issues with development of the face. FAS can also cause the child to experience delayed thought, speech, movement, and difficulty relating to others. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a multitude of other problems with the birth process including miscarriage, premature delivery, and even death.

Due to the lifelong effects FAS has on an infant, women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant are encouraged to abstain from drinking. In the United States, half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and a woman may be pregnant for several weeks and not know it. Women who are not trying to become pregnant but who are sexually active and drink alcohol should use a form of birth control (condoms, the pill).

Unlike many pregnancy-related issues, prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is simple. That is not to say that quitting drinking is easy for everyone. Group therapy and counseling can be very effective for helping women overcome alcoholism and provide a better quality of life for themselves and their child.

If you think you may need help controlling your drinking, Dr. Hessel would be happy to recommend a supportive program or other options. You’re welcome to stop by our offices at any time.


What To Expect?

What To Expect?

What to expect when you’re expecting

When you’re pregnant, your baby’s health is your first concern. Dr. Hessel specializes in prenatal care for normal and high-risk pregnancies. She also performs on-site ultrasounds. And when it’s time for your baby to enter the world, Dr Hessel and her team will keep you comfortable by handling your labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care. Thanks to that more personalized approach, you can rest assured you’ll receive the best possible care from Dr. Hessel and her team.

Every woman experiences pregnancy differently. Some glow with good health and others feel absolutely miserable. Here are some of the changes you might experience during your first trimester:

Bleeding. About one in four pregnant women experience slight bleeding during their first trimester. Light spotting may be a sign that the fertilized embryo has implanted in the uterus. If you have any bleeding, talk to Dr. Hessel.

Breast tenderness. Sore breasts are a common early sign of pregnancy. Triggered by hormonal changes, this condition will likely last through the first trimester.

Constipation. Constipation and gas can make you feel bloated throughout your pregnancy. Increase your fiber intake and drink extra fluids to keep things moving smoothly. Physical activity also helps.

Discharge. A thin, milky white discharge called leucorrhea may occur early in your pregnancy. Do not use tampons because they can introduce germs into the vagina. A foul-smelling, green or yellow discharge should be reported to Dr. Hessel. Wear cotton next to your skin as much as possible.

Exercise. Having a daily regimen is encouraged. However, any activity that may lead to falling (e.g. rollerblading, outdoor cycling, water sports, etc.) should  be avoided during your pregnancy. Also avoid the sauna, steam room and hot tub.

Fatigue. Your body is working hard for a growing fetus, which can wear you out. Take naps or rest as needed throughout the day. Make sure you’re getting enough iron to avoid anemia, which causes fatigue.

Food cravings/aversions. Your food tastes can change while you’re pregnant. Over 60% of pregnant women experience food cravings or food aversions. If you are generally eating healthy, it’s okay to give in to an occasional craving. Cravings for non-foods like clay, dirt and laundry starch – a condition known as pica – can be dangerous. Report this kind of craving to your doctor immediately.

Foods to avoid. You should not eat sushi or any other raw fish. Tuna, shark, mackerel and tile fish contain high levels of mercury (a known cause of birth defects) and should be avoided. If you eat deli meat or unpasteurized cheese like brie or feta, you will need to bring it home and cook it. It can contain harmful bacteria. You should also avoid caffeine.

Frequent urination. Your growing uterus is putting pressure on your bladder. You may feel like you constantly have to urinate. Your body needs fluids, but it’s a good idea to cut down on caffeine, which stimulates the bladder. When the urge hits, go right to the bathroom.

Heartburn. Your body is producing more progesterone, which relaxes the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus. This normally keeps food and acids in your stomach. Muscle relaxation can lead to acid reflux or heartburn. Eat frequent, small meals throughout the day. Avoid greasy, spicy and acidic foods (like oranges or lemons). Try raising your pillows when you sleep.

Mood swings. If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to Dr. Hessel – she can refer you to a mental healthcare professional.

Morning sickness. Nausea is one of the most common and talked about pregnancy symptoms. It affects up to 85% of pregnant women. It can last through the entire first trimester. Nausea is usually worst in the morning. Try eating crackers, meat or cheese and sipping water, clear fruit juice or ginger ale. Severe nausea can affect the amount of nutrition getting to your baby, so call Dr. Hessel if you can’t keep food down.

No tobacco or alcohol.

Weight gain. This is one of the few times in your life when weight gain is considered a good thing, but don’t overdo it. During the first trimester, you should gain about 3 to 6 pounds. Dr. Hessel may recommend that you adjust your weight gain up or down based on whether you started your pregnancy underweight or overweight. Don’t “eat for two.” You only need about an extra 150 calories a day during your first trimester. Get those calories by adding extra fruits and vegetables, milk and lean meat to your diet.