Why Is My Period Late?
A late period can cause you a lot of headaches, sleepless nights, and worry, particularly if you’re not trying to conceive. Delayed or missed periods can arise due to a plethora of reasons apart from pregnancy. Your health, stress, diet, age, and even workout routine can affect your period. What’s more, women tend to experience irregular periods when they first begin, and during the onset of menopause, which can lead to further confusion.
In this article, we’ll discuss five common causes of a late or missed period, which will hopefully help to ease your mind.
5 Common Causes of Late or Missed Period
The cause of a delayed or missed period could be due to stress, sudden weight changes, or the onset of menopause.
An extended period of stress can cause hormonal imbalance in your body, alter your day-to-day routine, and even distress your hypothalamus – the region of your brain responsible for controlling your period. Stress can also result in illness, or rapid weight loss or gain, which can also affect your menstrual cycle.
The best way to eliminate stress and get your period back on a regular schedule is to engage in regular exercise, get sufficient sleep, and minimize your exposure to stressful situations. It’s also wise to talk to a competent counselor or doctor to help learn reliable coping mechanisms, especially if you’re experiencing chronic stress.
Missed or late periods are common in women who have eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa. If you become underweight, or if your body-fat ratio drops significantly, the levels of reproductive hormones in your body decline substantially to a level where it’s impossible for ovulation and menstruation to take place.
If you’re experiencing late periods due to losing a substantial amount of weight, you should consult a dietitian. A dietitian can develop a diet plan so that you consume an adequate amount of calories, and obtain the proper amounts of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your body requires to function optimally.
On average, menopause begins at about 52 years when a woman hasn’t experienced a period for over a year. Symptoms of menopause may start between 10 and 15 years before menopause, a condition known as perimenopause.
This condition is a sign that the levels of estrogen are starting to vary in the body. Irregular levels of estrogen can change a woman’s cycle, which is why most women in perimenopause miss their periods or get them irregularly.
Excessive Weight Gain
Being obese or overweight can trigger hormonal changes, resulting in late or missed periods. Excessive weight gain, coupled with late periods, can be a sign that you have an underlying medical condition like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS is a health condition that activates your body to generate an excessive amount of a male hormone, androgen. Cysts develop on the ovaries due to this hormone imbalance, making your ovulation irregular or stopping it completely. This condition can also disrupt the levels of other hormones like insulin.
If diagnosed with PCOS, your doctor will recommend a treatment that will concentrate on alleviating the symptoms. Your doctor, or dietitian, will assist you in developing the right diet and workout routine if they discover that obesity is triggering your delayed or missed periods.
Certain types of birth control, especially hormonal techniques, can result in a late or missed period. Typically, hormonal birth control offers a kind of estrogen mixed with progesterone for a specific period, accompanied by numerous hormone-free days.
The removal of these hormones initiates a period. At times, these hormones thin the uterus lining such that there is no sufficient lining to trigger a period, resulting in a late or missed period.
Dealing with Period Pain, Cramps and Bloating
Many people who menstruate experience period pain, cramps and bloating as common symptoms during their menstrual cycle. Menstrual cramps occur when the uterus contracts to shed its lining, causing pain in the lower abdomen, lower back and thighs. Bloating is another common symptom of menstruation and can cause discomfort, swelling and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen.
These symptoms can be mild or severe and may be relieved through over-the-counter pain medications or other remedies such as heat therapy, exercise or dietary changes. It's important to talk to a healthcare provider if these symptoms become severe or interfere with daily activities.
How Late Can a Period Be?
A menstrual cycle can be categorized as late if it has surpassed five days from when you anticipated it to begin. A missed period is a situation where your menstrual flow fails to occur more than six weeks after the beginning of your last period.
How Late Can a Period be Without Being Pregnant
Menstrual cycles vary from one person to another. Healthy cycles can fall between 21 and 35 days, and they can fluctuate in duration from one month to another by a couple of days. Chances are that you can predict with precision when your next period will come, except if you are experiencing irregular cycles because of a health condition.
Late periods don’t always mean you are pregnant. Sometimes, your period can be late by up to 7 days due to other conditions apart from pregnancy. If you’re nervous about pregnancy, you should take a pregnancy test. If a pregnancy test is negative, and your period is over a week late, you should see your gynecologist to determine the cause of your late or missed period.
How Late Can a Period Be Before You Should Worry?
If you generally have a regular menstrual cycle, you may feel worried if your period fails to come when you anticipate it to. It’s not unusual for a period to fluctuate a bit in length monthly. While a late period can undoubtedly make you anxious, knowing the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle, and the functioning of your body can help you get rid of some of this stress.
A normal menstrual cycle for women who are yet to reach menopause is every 28 days. However, a healthy menstrual cycle can be between every 21 and 35 days. If your menstrual cycle surpasses these ranges, then you could be dealing with an issue of a late period. The duration of most periods is between three and five days, but one that lasts from two to seven days is considered normal as well.
A period that is extremely unpredictable and comes at any time of the month is called irregular.
If you’re concerned about late or missed periods, you should consider keeping a written record of your periods that include the beginning and ending dates, as well as a list of other related symptoms. A history of your symptoms helps your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
If you’re concerned about your menstrual cycle, make a gynecologist appointment or visit a professional in women’s health, regularly can be instrumental in answering your questions and helping you to understand your body better.