If you’re not pregnant, your period may be late due to a great deal of stress or low body weight. Certain conditions, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, and others, can also affect your menstrual cycle.
Worried about a late period but know you’re not pregnant? Missed or late periods happen for many reasons other than pregnancy. Common causes can range from hormonal imbalances to serious medical conditions.
There are also two times when it’s typical for your period to be irregular: when it first begins and when the menopause transition starts. As your body goes through the transition, your cycle can become irregular.
In this article, we discuss eight reasons your period may be late besides pregnancy.
Most people who haven’t reached menopause usually have a period approximately every 28 days. However, a healthy menstrual cycle can range from every 21-40 days.
If your period doesn’t fall within these ranges, it could be because of one of the following reasons.
Chronic stress can throw off your hormones, change your daily routine, and even
If you think stress might be throwing off your period, try practicing relaxation techniques and making lifestyle changes.
Chronic stress can also affect other health conditions you’re living with, so addressing it yourself or with the help of a medical professional is an important part of taking care of your overall well-being.
2. Low body weight
People who have eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, may experience irregularities in their cycle. Losing too much weight can
Getting treatment for your eating disorder and getting to the point where your body fat is optimal again can return your cycle back to its original length.
People who participate in extreme exercises, such as marathons, may also experience cycle irregularities as well.
In the same way that living with a low body weight can cause hormonal changes, living with a high body weight can also cause irregularities.
If your doctor has determined that obesity is a factor in your late or missed periods, they may advise you to lose weight through lifestyle changes, such as focusing on nutrient-dense foods and exercising.
4. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a condition that causes your body to produce more of the male hormone androgen. Cysts form on the ovaries as a result of this hormone imbalance. This can make ovulation irregular or stop it altogether.
Treatment for PCOS focuses on relieving symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe birth control or another medication to help regulate your cycle.
5. Birth control
It can take up to 3 months for your cycle to become consistent again after you stop taking the pill.
6. Chronic diseases
Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and celiac disease, can also affect your menstrual cycle. Changes in blood sugar are linked to hormonal changes, so even though it’s rare, unmanaged diabetes could
Other chronic conditions that may lead to cycle irregularities include:
7. Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
If you’re experiencing missed periods and you’re 40 years old or younger, contact your doctor to talk about POI testing and treatment.
8. Thyroid issues
The thyroid regulates your body’s metabolism, so hormone levels can be affected as well. Thyroid issues can usually be treated with medication. After treatment, your period will likely return to your normal cycle.
If your period is late and you think you might be pregnant, you can take a pregnancy test. Most home tests are pretty accurate, but if you think your result may be wrong, you can see your doctor for a blood or urine test.
Certain pregnancy symptoms during the first six weeks after conception can also suggest that you might be pregnant. If you haven’t received your period within six weeks, it’s not likely that the cause is related to natural variations in your menstrual cycle.
If your periods seem irregular, or you’ve missed a period but know you’re not pregnant, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor ASAP, as there are many reasons and conditions that could be causing the issue.
Your doctor can properly diagnose the reason for your late or missed period and discuss your treatment options. If you can, keep a record of changes in your cycle as well as other health changes. This will help them make a diagnosis.
If you have the following symptoms, contact a doctor immediately, or call 911:
Just as every person is different, every menstrual cycle is different. While 28 days is the generalized cycle length, cycles can range from 28-40 days.
Occasional cycle irregularities can happen for a variety of reasons, from chronic stress to weight loss or weight gain, to stopping or starting birth control.
If you’ve noticed that your cycle has been irregular lately, or you’ve missed a period and know for a fact you’re not pregnant, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor right away. The quicker they can make a diagnosis, the quicker you can work on regulating your cycle again.