Why do they need to know when my last......


Well-Known Member
period was??

Does anyone know WHY it seems to be standard procedure for the medical personnel to ask when my last period was, EVEN when it has NOTHING to do with why I am consulting with them in the first place?

I find it highly intrusive and, frankly, annoying. What’s even more confounding is that no one seems to be able to give me a straight answer (I even googled it). The MA simply mumbled that it was what she was suppose to do (I loved the look of disbelieve she gave me). Unfortunately, by the time the DR came in and I began to explain what was going on with me, I forgot to ask her about it.

I understand if I’m seeing a GYN, then it makes sense to me. However, when I am seeing the MD about a skin rash I fail to see the relevance in relation to my menstrual cycles. If I have an issue with my period, believe me, I’ll ASK. The thing is I don’t keep track of when I had my period. I know some people do, but I don’t. So, many times I simply say: “Uh, within the last 28 days”.

I have even inquired about what sort of equivalent question they have for males. I offered a few examples, none of which I can share in this forum, to one very surprised young nurse when I had to get stitches in my knee at the ER. “Please, tell me, WHY do you need to know when the last day of my last period was???”

Stitches-Knee-Period: I'm not connecting the dots.

I suppose I’m a square peg in a round world because I don’t get it.

Sue C

Active Member
I have always wondered the same thing! Know what's worse than asking when you had your last period? A nurse asking you IF you still get your period. I had a nurse ask me that not long ago. That irritated the heck out of me 'cuz I was still getting them and by her asking me that question, she made me feel like she thought I was old and was probably through menopause.



Well-Known Member
LOL...How funny that you mentioned this. I had thought about this when sitting in the ER one time but was afraid to ask anyone. The last time I was there however instead of asking me when my last period was they asked me if I had a hysterectomy!

Guess I cant be too upset since the answer is yes...lol.


Well-Known Member
If you figure this one out, please let me know because I don't get it either!

I'm not one who normally spends a lot of time with doctors if I can help it, but a few years ago I had to call my son to come drive me to the ER because I was having trouble breathing ... turned out to be pluresy(sp?). But when we get there, the nurse rattled off that question to me, in front of my son! And I answered her honestly ... "IT WAS EIGHT YEARS AGO! IS THAT RELEVANT???" I mean, what on earth did that have to do with my chest hurting so bad that I could hardly breathe???

Sometimes I think they're just nosey! I also think they're a whole lot more intrusive and disrespectful with women than with men! Personally, I like to be able to hang on to a little tiny bit of my dignity, but then that's just me!
And they ask it without even thinking.

When I was hemmorhaging vaginally, and went to the ER, I'm sitting there, doubled over, trying not to leak.

Triage nurse: "date of last menstrual period?"
I said "are you f'ing kidding me? I'm about to have my last menstrual period all over your triage chair. Now get me a doctor."


New Member
There are SO many reasons they ask this. they ask so you AND them can be aware of how long it has been, so you AND them can be aware and alert to the possibility of pregnancy. In case of POSSIBLE pregnancy, there are MANY medications and tests they cannot or should not use, or must use with different precautions. So, they do need to ascertain the possibility of a pregnancy, either one you know about or one you may not yet be aware of. ANd then they use that info to determine how to next proceed. If there is even the most remote possibility of pregnancy, there are different routes and paths they might take to provide you with whatever treatment etc you did come there for.
ALso some tests can have different results during different times during your cycle. So can some medications. ANd there are also some types of symptoms that might seem not at all related to your monthly cycle, but in the end could possibly be related to something hormonal or related to your cycle.

SO many women will say no, they are not pregnant, and they will say no there is no possibility of me being pregnant, and then lo and behold, guess what? They ARE preg.....or maybe have a tubal pregnancy--------or are having some preg related problem- or they are preg and do not know it yet, but refuse to acknowledge the possibility their method of birth control might have failed. Even if pregnancy and such per se have nothing at all to do with the reason you are there, in a fetus that is only say 1-2 weeks old ANY medications could pose potential harm, and NO doctor wants to take on the risk or responsibility for harming a fetus.

ANd yes, that is the number one question ANY doctor SHOULD ask EVERY female patient over the age of puberty. They really do need to determine if you are the only patient or if there is an unseen little patient hiding in there. They are protecting THAT patient.


New Member
When I was 30 yrs old I went to visit my mother in hospital. A nurse came and asked me what in the world was I doing wandering the hall of maternity floor, it was "sibling visits" only for the newborn babies and I needed to leave the floor NOW. I said I came becuz my mom was there. The nurse said nope, I must be on the wrong floor. My mom could not possibly be there, according to her. Well, YES my mom WAS there on that floor. I came to meet my brand new baby brother. My mom had my bro when I was 30 yrs old.with no strange hi tech interventions or assistance.

Yes there are a few women who DO still get monthlies at age 58 and remember very few people have their age tatooeed or in neon on their foreheads for all the world to see and know immediately how old they are. SOme people (my husband included) can look much older than they really are, and some people (me included) can look much younger than they really are. Due to combat, and ptsd etc my dhs medical charts have said he is a 40 something male who appears in his 80s. (he is now older than that- almost 60) and MY records say I am a 40+ woman appearing to be early 30s. We take great delight at carnivals etc winning when the age guessing person cannot guess our ages even within 10 years of either of our ages. Substance abuse, a hard life, etc can age a person and plastic surgery can take decades off some people.

Yes, your birthdate should be on your charts and records, but- not everyone is quick with their math. Most of the people who do intakes are following a pre set history taking, a set in concrete protocol, and many insurance forms are going to create a problem if the spot for date of last period is not filled in, and I for one would be quite angry if the person asking the questions simply PRESUMED any answers. ANd yes, even if you have female hemorraghing, the date of your last previous monthly could be important.
You would think the question asking if you are male or female should also be easy BUT..........now there are sex change operations and there are persons with double sex organs and cross dressers and such..........it could create a problem to simply presume the answers.
Remember the thread very recently about the lady who had twins? How old was she?
Do people really want hospital staff to assume after say someone who appears how old? 45? should the medical personnel just assume everyone over age 45 has gone thru menopause or had a hysterectomy? or no longer engages in sex?
Truth is yes, they really DO need to KNOW. And if that question is not marked off, even insurance might not pay out.

My daughters were both quite upset when first asked this somewhere around age 11 or so everytime they went to doctor, afraid the docs etc thought they were "messing around" Now my dtrs even know to expect the question.

If you trust a medical person enough to take care of you, how can you be so offended when they ask such an important question?


New Member
PS, did they know he was your son? DId they know if he was your biological son? DId they know if you carried him for 9 months yourself? That it was a traditional pregnancy? (did your son know these things?) Does your son not realize women have monthlies?
If your son was at the docs with you at the point where they gather history, they must have assumed he would not be disturbed to hear your answers?


What burns me up is when they ask if there is any chance you could be pregnant before doing a procedure. Then when you tell them no, they go ahead and do the pregnancy test anyway. And charge you for it. Certain things have to happen in order to get pregnant (ahem) and when those things aren't happening, you CAN'T be pregnant.


New Member
You would be surprised at how many people say "no" and then test positive for pregnancy- and yes, then how many people sue a doctor for possibly harming a fetus with a test when they answered that no, no possibility they could be pregnant. been there done that......it happens a LOT. So- the medical people and insurance prefer to err on the side of caution.


New Member
what cracked me up was my mom telling me about her e xperience having me when she was 15 and I was 3 months premature back in the 50s. She showed up at hospital saying she thought she was in labor, and they told her she did not know what she was talking about, they sent her home, she went back, they yelled at her and sent her home, I was born in the hallway on her 3rd trip back to hospital. a year later when she had my bro- she wanted to watch him be born,. they told her "no" why? they said she was not old enough. Then she wanted to name him "Bill" they said no, "Bill" is not a proper name- - the proper name for "Bill" is "William" and they absolutely refused to permit her to name my bro just "Bill" and so a few years later, she went to court and had his name changed to "Bill" Yeesh.

I was over 30 when my first was born. I am a large person, but during preg, well, I had already had 11 miscarriages before my first child was born, and I LOST over 80 pounds with my first preg. I showed up at hospital, said I was in labor, and they argued with me and said how could I be in labor, I was not even preg? My oldest difficult child was born 5 hours later.
My 2nd child, same thing, they were argueing with me saying no, I could not be preg, or maybe I was VERY premature? No, she was full term, and she was born 15 mins after I arrived at hospital. Now my son? I was HUGE from 5 months on......but then he was 2 months premature. and his labor was 19 hours. But at least they did not argue with me when I showed up to deliver him. BUT he WAS a surprise becuz my husband had not been ..............um...........functional. not since our easy child was born....approx 6 years. when I realized I did not have my monthly, I thought I was ill. ultrasound showed my son. Go figure. No, as far as I knew we had NOT done anything. Not me and husband and not me and anyone. My husband had been in a catatonic fugue state for most of the time nonstop from conciieving easy child till our son. seperate bedrooms even when he was home.........soooooooooooooo yes, when they asked me, any possibility you are preg, I said NO. ANd I MEANT "no" and my sister in law and doctor had the biggest LOL at my expense a few mins later when my sons image popped up on ultrasound screen. I SWORE they were playing a joke on me.
No, I did not take any drugs. No, I did not drink. No, I was not even on any Rx medications. No, my husband was hardly home during that time, he was mostly in a locked psychiatric hospital. Even more weird, his low sperm count always thru our marriage and my high rate of miscarriages (14 in all) and always before I KNEW by day 2 when I WAS preg. To this day, in private, husband and I marvel about how our son was conceived. But yes, I honestly was more shocked than anyone to find out I was preg. As far as I knew, there had been NO contact at all in 6 years.

Yes, it happens.
ANd people trust their bc more than they should. Or they prefer to live in denial...or they forget. Yes, people can and do forget.oh just that one time.......or maybe it happens in their sleep----or after a drink or 2...........or they miss just one pill............

EVen tubal ligations fail. ANd vasectomies.

and there are some people who have an idea if they ignore something it will go away. Remember, even difficult children go to docs. (for things besides psychiatric help etc) SOme people are just liars about everything.............

SOooooooooooooooo the medical community and insurance co and malpractice ins providers require proof that there is NO pregnancy before doing any test procedure or medication that might harm a fetus. and- rightly so. It sure is not a fetus fault if noone admits their presence or noone is aware of their presence. The fetus has every right to be protected.


New Member
who lies? teen girls. Unmarried women. difficult children. Widows.
Shy people. Married women who are having extramarital relationships. Women married to abusive men. Scared women. Substance abusers.
Parents of disabled females, or the caregivers of disabled females.........
Why? shame. Denial. Hope. embarrasment. Fear of scandal. Fear of judgement. Wishful thinking. Lack of knowledge.

Yes, all these kinds of women can and do show up needing medical care or treatment for something or another, whether it is routine annual pap or illness or injury. ANd yes, what part of the cycle they are currently in can affect things as can whether or not they are preg. And yes, any fetus can be affected by whatever a mothers body is subjected to or exposed to.


it also can make a difference the age of the fetus if someone IS found to be preg........becuz different things affect different age fetuses differently. DIfferent parts of a fetus develop at certain times and what might harm a 3 week fetus might not harm a 8 month fetus. etc. SOme things can be safely going on at 1 week gestation that might be dangerous at 9 months. It just depends, so it is important. It is all important. ANd best not left to chance.



New Member
What a great topic! I'm a Labor and Delivery nurse of many, many years. I've had 15 yo girls in the process of giving birth tell me that NO ONE has done anything to them "down there". I once saw a 9 yo have a baby!!!! I hadn't even started my period at nine! Well, actually, she hadn't either.....but obviously had an egg "in waiting". She freaked out during the entire labor process and ended up having a C/S because her pelvis was too small! I've seen MANY women go to the ER with abdominal pain, thinking it was appendix or gall bladder and surprise, surprise! And of course, women getting pregnant when their husband was too pooped to pop! It's a policy in our hospital that every woman in the ER have a pregnancy test unless she has had a hyster. So even the 104 yo ladies get tested!!!


I was taking my easy child and difficult child swimming years ago. easy child was 15 and difficult child was 3. They asked my easy child how old his SON was!!! I was holding difficult child, and easy child just said "ewwww" that's my mom and my brother!!


Well-Known Member
Actually as weird as this question and topic is...there is a point to what dreamer and susiequte say.

I had a really severe case of walking pneumonia in the fall of 85. I saw my GP who gave me some antibiotics and narcotic cough medicine. When the coughing became so severe that I tore a muscle off my rib cage, he sent me for a chest xray. The hospital asked me if I was pregnant and I told them no. I thought I wasnt. Guess again! A condom had leaked and we didnt realize it and Cory was already there. By the time we found out I was pregnant I had already had 3 chest xrays, numerous doses of narcotic cough medications and antibiotics. I was offered a d and c to terminate the pregnancy since no one could be sure of the effect on the fetus but we chose to continue. (Little did we know!) He was born with a physical birth defect...actually two but whether they were caused by the early exposure we will never know.

It never occurred to me to sue. It was as much my fault as anyones. Heck...I was there! It wasnt that I lied to anyone, I just didnt know I was pregnant. Im sure they didnt do any pregnancy tests because it would have shown up.


Well-Known Member
When I was in college I had a friend who didn't even know she was pregnant until she was in labor. She went to the ER with a BAAADDD stomach ache. The baby was a complete surprise! She said she got her period the whole time. Strange things happen. I watched a show on this topic on Oprah many years ago- a woman (young girl) was out on a boat, waterskiing, and she had a stomach ache, afterwards her friends stopped at a mini-mart and while they were there,a baby came shooting out through her shorts! onto the floor of the car!!! Another lady was in bed and she called her husband into the room, something came out of her, he pulled back the covers at the BOTTOM of the bed and a baby was there! Surprise! My ob-gyn doctors wife didn't know either until 5 months, and her husband was my ob. She told me she just thought it was a middle aged spread thing. Life is funny sometimes.


Well-Known Member
A former boss of mine and his wife had one daughter and tried for years to have a second child and finally pretty much gave up. Then, when their daughter was 13, the wife discovered that she was pregnant and soon gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She was not a young woman anymore and felt awful after his birth. She chalked it up to her age but she felt worse and worse as the weeks went by and started to get alarmed because she wasn't regaining her strength at all. She finally went back to her doctor. Surprise! She was pregnant again ... this time with TWINS! Their identical twin girls were born when their little boy was 11 months old! All three little ones were actually born in the same calendar year. In less than a year they went from having one child to having FOUR! Talk about a shock!



Well-Known Member
I really have no problem with answering that question when I come to see the DR, or go to the ER, with ANYTHING that is even near the "southern" region.

But, many times they simply ask it as a matter of routine when I go to the DR, before they even know why I am there. I find it intrusive, and have told them so. It's as if ANYTHING that might be going on with me might have something to do with that.

I think the MA was rather annoyed with me because after I had to put on their FABULOUS paper gown, she came in, got something, and went out and LEFT THE DOOR OPEN for everyone walking by to see me. I made a loud protest, got up and slammed the door shut by pushing hard with my foot. Then, gave the Dr an earful when she came in about a minute later.

Yes, *I* am The Patient From H*ll. :devil:

I understand people lie. Heck, the lies could go either way. I could say I'm pregnant, when I'm not. I could lie about my period. And I don't have a problem with PG testing if there is a suspecion and the testing could harm the fetus. I totally get that. I know there are other circumstances, but if I am coming in because I need anti-fungal for my toenail, JUST ask if I'm pregnant.

I promise to tell the truth. :angel: