Feeling stressed about a missed or late period is not an unusual scenario. It’s important to remember that there are multiple reasons why this can occur, and it’s not always due to pregnancy. So, before you jump to conclusions, let’s explore the potential causes of a late or missed period.
Natalia Hapych, a family doctor, outlines five conditions that could lead to a late or missed period and provides practical advice to alleviate your concerns. Let’s jump right in to better understand these factors.
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What Can Cause a Late or Missed Period?
Here are five possible reasons for a late or missed period:
1. Stress and Anxiety
First on our list is stress and anxiety. Excessive stress can have a direct impact on your menstrual cycle. This is because stress hormones can interfere with the hormones that control your period. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or anxious lately, it might explain why your period is late.
During times of stress, your body may decide to delay your period as a survival mechanism. It’s not uncommon to miss a period during stressful times, such as a major life change or event. However, if you notice this becoming a recurring issue, it’s important to seek professional help to manage your stress levels.
2. Weight Fluctuations
Significant changes in weight, whether they’re gains or losses, can affect your period. This is because your body weight influences your hormones, including those responsible for ovulation.
If you’ve recently lost a substantial amount of weight, this could lead to missed or irregular periods. On the other hand, being overweight can also cause hormonal imbalances that disrupt your cycle. If you’ve noticed a correlation between changes in your weight and your menstrual cycle, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare provider to ensure your overall health is in check.
Engaging in regular physical activity is beneficial for your overall health. However, there is a point where too much of a good thing can turn bad. Over-exercising, especially coupled with inadequate caloric intake, can cause a condition known as “female athlete triad,” leading to missed periods or amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).
This condition can lead to bone loss and fertility issues if not addressed promptly. So, if you’re an athlete or if you exercise intensely on a regular basis and your period has been missing, it’s a good idea to discuss this with a doctor.
4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a term used to describe a hormonal disorder that can cause missed or irregular periods. The condition is characterized by the existence of multiple cysts on your ovaries, which interfere with regular ovulation.
Symptoms of PCOS often include irregular periods, excessive facial or body hair growth, acne, and weight gain. If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms along with a late or missed period, it may be time to speak with a healthcare provider about potential PCOS.
As you age, your body undergoes natural changes that can affect your menstrual cycle. For women around their late 40s to early 50s, a missed period may be an early sign of menopause.
During menopause, estrogen levels decrease, leading to the eventual cessation of periods. Other symptoms may include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and vaginal dryness. If you suspect you might be going through menopause, it’s advised to consult your doctor to discuss symptoms and possible treatments.
Is a Missed or Late Period Normal?
Occasionally missing a period or having a late period is quite common and usually not a cause for concern. But if it becomes a consistent occurrence, or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, it may be indicative of an underlying condition. That’s why it’s crucial to monitor any changes related to your menstrual cycle and seek medical advice if necessary.
Always seek medical attention if:
- Your periods have stopped for more than three months, and you’re not pregnant
- You’re experiencing severe pain during your period
- You’re experiencing heavy bleeding or passing large blood clots
- Your periods are causing distress or affecting your quality of life
How to Manage Late or Missed Periods
The management of a late or missed period largely depends on its cause. As such, it’s important to discuss your situation with your doctor to determine the appropriate steps.
“If you’re not getting relief from home remedies, or you aren’t sure of the diagnosis, it’s certainly worth a visit to the clinic to get checked out,” advises Dr. Hapych.
To help regulate your cycle and avoid missed periods, here are some useful tips:
- Do: Maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise routine
- Don’t: Engage in excessive physical activity without proper nutritional support
- Do: Find healthy ways to manage stress, like meditation or yoga
- Don’t: Neglect regular health check-ups and ignore consistent menstrual irregularities
- Do: Have open communication with your healthcare provider about your concerns
All in all, experiencing a late or missed period can be stressful, but remember. It’s usually not a cause for alarm. Always listen to your body’s signals, and never hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have concerns.
Further Reading: 10 Reasons Why You Are Getting Your Period Twice In A Month