Did you miss your period this month? Missed or late periods happen for many reasons. Most women have 11 to 13 menstrual periods each year. You may be different, you may have more or fewer. There could be many reasons your period could be late.
Menstrual periods are often irregular during the first few years after menstruation starts. It may take several years for the hormones that control menstruation to reach a balance.
Here, ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, M.D., co-author of V is for Vagina, offers potential reasons your period is late that have nothing to do with a bouncing bundle of joy. Most women who haven’t reached menopause usually have a period every 28 days. However, a healthy menstrual cycle can range from every 21 to 35 days. If your period doesn’t fall within these ranges, it could be because of one of the following reasons.
Here listed few of the more basic, every day reasons, that could cause irregular, ,missed or late periods.
1. Exercising Excessively
Have you been hitting soul cycle every day after work? Training for a marathon? If you’ve taken up a new and intense exercise routine, your period might be thrown off. In fact, people who engage in extreme physical activity sometimes see their periods delayed. Extreme exercise can cause alterations in pituitary hormones and thyroid hormones, it could also lead to lower levels of estrogen, resulting in changes in ovulation and menstruation.
A big scary event in your life can cause hypothalamic amenorrhea. “This particular area of the brain, the hypothalamus, is where a lot of the hormones for your period are regulated,” says Dweck. “The hypothalamus is very affected by stress.” In brief, Hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition in which menstruation stops for several months due to a problem involving the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is in the center of the brain and controls reproduction. It produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).
So if you’re dealing with a big move, death in the family, huge breakup, office problems, no promotions, or any other life event that’s shaking you up, any situations and pressures that cause stress could be the reason your period is late or delayed.
3. A Change In Your Regular Routine
Did you start a new job? Change your wake-up time? Went on vacation? Did your office shifts changed? It can take your body a little time to adjust to a change in your regular routine and that can impact your regular cycle, especially if the change started at the time you would normally ovulate, causing a delay or even a skipped cycle. In fact change in sleep schedule can disturb your internal body clock that regulates important cellular processes—can cause you to experience irregular or late periods.
4. A Thyroid Irregularity
The thyroid gland, located in your neck, regulates your metabolism. It also interacts with many other systems in your body to keep things running smoothly. “If you’re dealing with any type of thyroid imbalance, whether it’s hypo- or hyperthyroidism, that can have implications for your period,” says Dweck. If you notice other symptoms of a thyroid disorder, check in with your doctor for an official diagnosis.
Being sick at the time you normally would ovulate can delay ovulation — and if you ovulate late, you’ll get your period late. So if your period hasn’t arrived on schedule, think back a few weeks , were you under the weather? If yes then you have identified the reason. Illness, such as pneumonia, a heart attack, kidney failure, or meningitis, can result in rapid weight loss and nutritional deficiency or hormone dysfunction, which can cause you to miss your period during the illness. After the illness is resolved, it might take a few months before your period returns again.
6. Poly-cystic Ovary Symptom
PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome ) is a hormone imbalance that comes down to a lack of ovulation, so you have altered levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. “We’re seeing a lot more of this, although there are varying degrees. It can cause you to completely miss your period or just not menstruate regularly,” says Dweck. Other PCOS symptoms include hair growth in places like the face and chest, difficulty losing weight, and potential fertility issues. Your doctor can help you come up with a treatment plan to manage the condition.
7. Chronic Diseases Like Celiac
“I know celiac disease is on everyone’s mind right now,” says Dweck, referring to the disease that’s characterized by gluten intolerance. “Any chronic disease that’s left untreated or undiagnosed is a stressor to your general system and can result in missed periods.” Think celiac may be the cause of your weird period issues?
8. Weight Issues
A major change in your weight — either by gaining a lot or losing a lot of weight — can throw your ovulation cycle off. People who are underweight or extremely overweight sometimes don’t have a period at all — which is not very healthy sign. When the body lacks fat and other nutrients, it cannot produce hormones the way it should. Women with anorexia (very low food intake) or who burn far more calories with exercise than what they consume by eating may experience amenorrhea. Overall, an incredibly wonky or nonexistent period is a sign of possible health issues.
9. Your Birth Control
A missing period can actually be a harmless byproduct of the measures you take to avoid pregnancy. “Some low-dose pills will cause a lack of menses that isn’t dangerous and is many times a welcome side effect,” says Dweck. The same goes for methods like hormonal IUDs, implants, or shots. It can also take some time for your period to come back if you’ve stopped birth control, but it will usually resume without issue in a few months.
10. Premature Menopause
When women under 40 have hormones misfiring in a significant way, they can go through premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian failure. Along with missed periods, signs of it include hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. “This isn’t very common, so you shouldn’t immediately worry about it,” says Dweck. If your gyno rules out the many other potential causes and thinks this may be the culprit, she’ll clue you in.
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, but many, many women have shorter or longer cycles and don’t chart them correctly — so it may be that your period is not actually late. Additionally, the majority of women have cycles that are irregular and don’t necessarily realize it. If your period is early even by a few days one month, it may arrive late the following month
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