Does a missed period and gassy stomach mean I am pregnant?

By Jon Johnson 

Reviewed by Debra Sullivan,
PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI

Pregnancy | PMS | Menopause | Ectopic pregnancy | Ovarian cysts | PCOS | Stress or anxiety | Anorexia | Ovarian cancer | Other When to see a doctor | Summary

A missed period is when
menstruation does not occur or does not follow its usual pattern. A gassy
stomach may occur at any time. However, when gas or pressure appears in the
abdomen at the same time as experiencing a late or missed period, many people
think they may be pregnant.
It is normal to occasionally
experience a period that is a few days late. However, a missed period is when
the cycle completely changes. A missed period may be a sign of pregnancy or
another underlying cause.
Early signs of pregnancy can
be easy to miss, especially if the person has not been pregnant before. There
are some signs that, along with a missed period, may be indicators of
pregnancy.
However, every person is
different, and each may experience different symptoms. The best way to find the
answer is to use an at-home pregnancy test.
Missing a period and
experiencing a gassy stomach together could be a sign of an underlying issue.
Anyone uncertain about their symptoms should see a doctor for a diagnosis.
In this article, we examine
some of the potential causes of a missed period and a gassy stomach.
Pregnancy
It is possible that these
symptoms occurring together are early signs of pregnancy. There may also be
other early signs of pregnancy alongside these symptoms.
As a study that appears in the
journal American Family Physician notes, pregnancy is the first thing that
doctors need to rule out if someone has these symptoms.
If a person is not pregnant,
the doctor will move on to other possible causes.
The reason for this is that
many people experience symptoms such as abdominal gas, along with a missed
period, early in their pregnancy.
Other early signs of pregnancy
include:

  • morning sickness
  • sore breasts
  • enlarged breasts
  • changes in the nipples, such
    as sore nipples or darkened areolas
  • frequent urination
  • light cramping
  • constipation due to slow
    digestion
  • feeling full after eating very
    small meals or nothing at all
  • fatigue
  • implantation bleeding, which
    is spotting that can occur when the egg implants itself to the uterus
  • food cravings or aversions
  • changes in vaginal discharge
    or cervical mucus
People may experience any of
these symptoms at any time during pregnancy. Some may experience symptoms just
after conception, while others may only notice symptoms a long time after their
missed period.
Many of these symptoms are
also common in other conditions. The best way to determine whether someone is
pregnant is to wait until they can take a pregnancy test.
Premenstrual
syndrome
While most people understand
how their period makes them feel, small fluctuations in hormones from issues
such as stress may lead to changes in premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
Hormonal changes may make some
symptoms worse or cause different symptoms. In some cases, these changes may
even alter the course of the menstrual cycle, such as causing a period to come
late.
Menopause
People aged 50 and over who
experience a missed period may be entering menopause. This occurs when the
ovaries stop releasing eggs and the person has not had a period for at least 12
months.
Ectopic
pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy occurs
when the fertilized egg does not reach the uterus. It attaches to other areas
such as the fallopian tubes, cervix, or abdominal cavity.
While ectopic pregnancy causes
similar symptoms to pregnancy early on, it can lead to other more severe
symptoms as the pregnancy continues.
Some risk factors may make an
ectopic pregnancy more likely. However, the American College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists note that about half of all females who experience an ectopic
pregnancy have no risk factors.
An ectopic pregnancy needs
immediate attention and can be a medical emergency if a person does not seek
treatment.
Ovarian
cysts
Ovarian cysts are small
fluid-filled sacs that may develop on the ovaries. The ovaries produce eggs and
hormones. Ovarian cysts may cause changes in these hormones.
The United States Department
of Health and Human Services note that ovarian cysts develop during ovulation,
but that these cysts pass on their own before becoming an issue.
Sometimes, however, the cysts
do require treatment.
Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome
(PCOS) causes hormone levels to change. The U.S Department of Health and Human
Services note that PCOS causes an increase of certain hormones that can cause
cysts to grow in the ovaries.
This may increase the risk of
a missed period or infertility and cause other changes in overall health.
Stress
or anxiety
While it is common to feel
stress or anxiety occasionally, having constant stress or anxiety may cause
hormonal changes that lead to similar symptoms. Finding ways to balance this
stress or relieve anxiety may be helpful.
Anorexia
nervosa
People with anorexia nervosa
may become fixated on losing weight or staying thin. They will typically try to
achieve this by reducing their calories or continuously exercising, at risk of
harming the overall health of the body.
This may lead to other issues,
such as changes in hormones, digestive problems, and missed periods.
Ovarian
cancer
While not as common as many
other issues, a missed period and a gassy stomach might also be a sign of
ovarian cancer. The American Cancer Society suggest that a woman has about a 1
in 78 chance of developing ovarian cancer. The cancer most often appears in
older people.
Other
disorders
Other disorders may cause
similar symptoms. Such disorders include:

  • thyroid disease
  • endocrine gland disorders
  • complications from certain
    medications, such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, or opiates
  • autoimmune conditions
  • congenital disorders
  • fragile X-associated primary
    ovarian insufficiency, wherein the ovaries stop functioning before the normal
    menopause age
This list is not exhaustive,
however. Anyone uncertain about their symptoms should see a doctor.
When
to see a doctor
Sometimes, a slight change in
hormones can cause changes in the natural menstrual cycle. This is not
typically a cause for concern.
At other times, symptoms such
as a missed period and gassy stomach may be signs of a more serious condition
that needs treatment.
If symptoms continue or get
worse, a person should visit their doctor. Likewise, anyone who misses more
than two periods should see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Anyone experiencing the
following symptoms, along with signs of ectopic pregnancy or other potentially
serious issues, should see a doctor immediately:

  • pain in the lower pelvis
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding,
    such as dark-colored blood
  • lower back pain
  • cramping on one side of the
    pelvis in particular
  • sudden, severe pain in the
    abdomen or pelvis
  • shoulder pain
  • dizziness or fainting
  • blood in the stools
Anyone who feels that their
symptoms are out of the ordinary should see a doctor or seek medical attention.
Summary


It is possible that a female
who is experiencing a gassy stomach and bloating along with a missed period is
pregnant.
However, many things can
affect the hormones in the body. Fluctuations in these hormones may cause
similar symptoms.
The only way to know for sure
is to take a pregnancy test or see a doctor. They will be able to diagnose any
underlying condition. If there is an underlying condition, treating it should
stop the symptoms.
SOURCE:
MEDICAL NEWS TODAY
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.