A late period can be extremely distressing, especially if a woman is accustomed to having regular periods or is concerned about an unexpected pregnancy. However, there are numerous other causes of a woman’s late period, ranging from birth control to stress.
This article examines eight possible causes of a late period.
Stress can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle, making it longer or shorter, or even causing a missed period. When women are stressed, they may experience more painful period cramps.
Avoiding stressful situations, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can help a person eliminate stress and maintain a regular menstrual cycle. If a woman is suffering from chronic stress, she should consult with a doctor or a counselor who can help her identify effective coping mechanisms.
2. The menopause
Menopause typically begins around the age of 52, when a woman has not had a period for at least 12 months. Many women begin to experience symptoms 10 to 15 years before menopause. This is referred to as perimenopause, and it indicates that estrogen levels are starting to fluctuate.
Irregular estrogen levels can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle, causing perimenopausal women to have irregular or missed periods. Menopause is said to have occurred when a woman has gone a full year without having her period.
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3. Dietary changes
When a woman loses a lot of weight or starts exercising regularly, she may stop having her period. Reproductive hormone levels can be suppressed when a woman is underweight or has a low body-fat ratio, preventing ovulation and menstruation. If a woman has missed her period after losing a lot of weight, she should talk to her doctor or a dietician about making sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs to get her period back on track.
Obesity can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle in the same way that losing weight can. A doctor’s correct diagnosis is essential because symptoms like obesity and missed periods can point to a more serious condition like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Blood tests and/or an ultrasound of the ovaries may be suggested by the doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the woman’s inability to ovulate regularly.
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Women using hormonal forms of birth control may experience irregular or absent periods. Hormonal birth control typically consists of a combination of estrogen and progesterone for a specified amount of time, followed by several hormone-free days. As a result of the hormones being taken away, a period will begin.
Sometimes the uterine lining is kept so thin by these hormones that it is not thick enough to cause a period. All hormonal contraceptives are affected by this, including pills, patches, shots, implants, and rings. Women who have safety concerns about their chosen method of birth control should consult a doctor, but in most cases this is safe.
6. Hormonal Disorders
A woman may not have her period if she is exposed to high levels of prolactin or thyroid hormones. A blood test can determine whether or not a hormonal imbalance is to blame for a woman’s missed or late period.
A medical professional should look into what’s triggering these hormonal shifts. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by something as benign as stress or something as serious as a brain tumor. Medication is often successful in restoring a regular period cycle.
Many women of childbearing age suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), making it a common hormonal disorder. Women with PCOS may experience a wide range of symptoms, including but not limited to acne, hair growth in unwanted places (especially the face and body), thinning hair, and even male-pattern baldness and obesity.
It is also common for periods to be irregular or completely absent when this condition is present. Women who have symptoms consistent with PCOS should see a doctor. Lack of periods during reproductive years can lead to endometrial cancer if not treated.
If a woman’s period is late, even if she is taking contraceptives, she should not immediately rule out pregnancy. Women can become pregnant even if they strictly adhere to all recommended methods of birth control.
An at-home pregnancy test should be used by any sexually active woman experiencing a late period. A warning: no method of birth control is foolproof. Expectant mothers should immediately start making plans for prenatal care. If a home pregnancy test comes back negative but a woman’s period still does not begin, she should get checked out.
When should you see your doctor?
If a woman is concerned about missed periods, keeping a written record of her periods, including the start and end dates, as well as a list of any other associated symptoms, can be beneficial.
A doctor can make a diagnosis more quickly if they have a written record to refer to. A simple calendar can suffice, but there are also smartphone apps available. Regular visits to a gynecologist or women’s health specialist can help answer many questions about menstruation cycles. A late period is not always an isolated occurrence and is not cause for concern.
Certain symptoms, however, may necessitate medical attention. They are as follows:
• missing several consecutive periods
• a positive pregnancy test
• having PCOS symptoms as described above
• having gained or lost a significant amount of weight
• feeling excessively stressed