When a woman is used to having regular periods, and that’s the norm for her, having a late period then becomes distressing. Moreover, concerns about unexpected pregnancy can further dampen the mood. Although having an “off-schedule” doesn’t necessarily mean there is a baby on the way. There are several reasons you have a late period; stress and birth control are just some of them. In this detailed piece, we’ll take a look at ten possible reasons why you currently have a late period.
Ten top reasons why your period is late
- Low body weight
Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa is one of the reasons for a late period. When you weigh ten percent less than what can be considered an ideal range can alter the way your body works and stop ovulation. The best way to treat it is by eating proper meals and putting on weight in a healthily recommended way. Participating in an extreme exercise like marathons are also prone to experience this condition.
- Your birth control pills
Contrary to what you’ve heard, birth control can’t regularize a period. However, women who take extended-cycle birth control pills such as Seasonale won’t have a typical period. And by regular, we mean a 28-day cycle. That’s because these contraceptives delay the amount of time between each period. So, when you take these active pills for more than twenty-one days, the uterus and its lining remain stable.
But taking the inactive pill drops your hormone levels and triggers the menses. It is quite different from what’s comes to mind when referring to periods in women who don’t take birth control. Because medical factors aren’t responsible, in this case, you might not experience normal bleeding.
Chronic illnesses can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle. Some of these chronic illnesses include:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid disease
- Liver dysfunction
- Ovarian cysts
- The pituitary gland, and;
- Adrenal gland disease.
When any of these chronic illnesses disrupt your cycle, there is a high probability it won’t return to normal until you treat them. Congenital conditions, including androgen insensitivity, usually affect fertility and menstrual cycles. They are also associated with amenorrhea.
Acute illnesses such as heart attack, kidney failure can also result in nutritional deficiency, which can cause a woman to miss her period during illness. Once you treat the diseases, it will take a few months before she gets her period returns.
- Extreme workout regimen
An extreme workout regimen can alter thyroid hormones and the pituitary gland. It results in menstruation and ovulation changes. You need not worry about exercise, causing you to have a late period if it’s within 1 to 2 hours every day. It takes a strenuous workout regime to produce hormonal changes. If you exercise daily, see a professional sports medicine who will work with you. Remember, you need to maintain optimal nutrition and stretch. Don’t forget to take a blood test now and then; that way, your body will support all the physical demands.
Having prolonged periods of stress can be a real causative when dealing with a late period. Anxiety affects a woman’s period, making it shorter or longer; sometimes, it causes a missed period. Some women have also reported painful cramps when they are stressed out. Relaxing and avoiding situations that could lead to stress can help you eliminate stress.
When you experience chronic stress, you may find it beneficial to speak to a counselor or medical doctor. They’ll help you identify some effective coping system.
- Fluctuating weight
Next to low body weight is a fluctuating weight, which is just as bad. Shedding excess weight is not bad. But excessively doing it will cause you a late period, especially when it relates to other conditions such as PCOS. A BMI (Body Mass Index) under twenty makes you feel famished. That’s why some lean female athletes don’t even have periods. When you’re underweight, you often create an environment that doesn’t encourage pregnancy.
Anorexia causes the hypothalamus to stop producing luteinizing hormone (LH) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone).
People with PCOS are usually sensitive to the numbers present on the scale. Interestingly ten percent weight gain or weight loss can cause a late period.
Most women are known to begin their menopause between ages 45 – 55. When a woman develops symptoms at the age of 40, or sometimes earlier, she has what’s referred to as early perimenopause.
Averagely, the onset of menopause in women is around the age of 52. Around this time, the woman has not had her period for 12 months or more. Many women experience the symptoms as early as 1as 10 – 15 years. But that’s before reaching the menopause stage. This experience is known as perimenopause. It often indicates that estrogen levels are unstable.
A fluctuating estrogen level can alter a woman’s period. That causes women in this stage (perimenopause) to experience missed or irregular periods. Once a woman goes a full year without her period, she has gone through menopause.
- Maybe you’re indeed pregnant.
Even with a reliable birth control medication, the thoughts of been pregnant might still be heavy in your heart. However, this isn’t usually the case. When you have a late period, some of the few things you ought to check are pregnancy and birth control pills. You should also check if your body is harboring a sickness. Pregnancy remains the number one thing on your checklist. Your ob-gyn office would also inquire about it, so go ahead and take a simple at-home pregnancy test.
- Thyroid issues
An underactive or overactive thyroid gland could be the cause of your late period. The thyroid helps to regulate our body’s metabolism. So your hormone levels can also be affected. You treat thyroid issues with proper medication. Your period will regulate itself after treating the thyroid issue.
Last on our list of ten reasons for a late period is breastfeeding. When breastfeeding, you may have very low or infrequent periods. The irregular or late periods occur if breastfeeding provides your baby with the essential caloric intake. We’ve also heard some women say breastfeeding is a unique form of birth control; well, that’s not true. You can still conceive while breastfeeding your baby. But that’s if you aren’t using any birth control.
Signs Your Period Is Coming and Not Pregnancy
Both PMS and periods can trigger symptoms similar to those of early pregnancy. Pregnancy and menstruation can affect your hormone levels, leading to physical and emotional signs and symptoms. Some of these signs include:
- Your breasts become sore or heavy.
Cyclical breast pain is linked to periods. Your breast may also feel tender or swollen after ovulation for a few days after the period starts. Changes in the estrogen, prolactin, progesterone, and breastfeeding hormone may play a vital role.
- Your experience a breakout
Acne is one of the common problems you experience during the late period. There is a massive spread of acne in older women compared to men due to their hormones. These infrequent breakouts are called cyclical acne. The rising hormone levels trigger oil production (known as sebum), which clogs the sweat pores and causes pimples when your period is about to start. Before your during your period, you may experience breakouts on your jawline and chin.
You feel cramps in your lower belly is one of the common signs of a menstrual complaint. When it occurs before or during your period, it is referred to as primary dysmenorrhea. Unlike most symptoms, which usually begin 1 to 2 weeks before your period and stops as soon as bleeding starts, cramps typically show up before your period and last for about 2 to 3 days.
- You’re gassy
Do you feel bloated and gassy? Water retention is one other complaint that’s worth talking about. It is hormonal, though you can curb the premenstrual bloat by reducing or completely cutting out salt from your meals, eating more veggies, fruits, and exercising regularly also help.
If you get headaches right before your period, the changes in estrogen levels are to blame. You’ll notice that you get them before your period if you are prone to migraines.
- Mood swings become frequent.
The shift in hormones responsible for some physical period signs can also you’re a woman’s emotions. You may feel irritable or crying spells.
- You have diarrhea
When your menstrual cycle is about to hit, your digestive symptoms usually hit the extremes. You may get constipated, while some women get diarrhea.
- Your lower back hurts a lot.
Menstrual cramps affect the belly, but that’s not all. Prostaglandins are the changes in natural chemicals that line the uterus that cause the uterus itself to contract, causing you to pain in your thighs or back.
How late can a period be without being pregnant?
So, why is my period late? Some women have their period every twenty-eight days like clockwork. However, most women will experience a late period at least once without being pregnant, and you need not worry about that as it’s perfectly normal.
Everyone’s menstrual cycle is unique. A healthy cycle can range in length from twenty-one to thirty-five days, and how long a period lasts tend to vary from cycle to cycle. Unless your cycles are irregular due to a medical condition, then you have a rough idea of when your next period will come. A period is considered late if it doesn’t “show up” within seven days when it’s expected to start.
When to See A Doctor
In as much as you’d like to pick any of the reasons we’ve highlighted above, it’s a general rule of thumb that you aren’t supposed to self-medicate. To properly diagnose the cause of your late periods, you need to consult your doctor.
Discuss your missed or late period and ask for different and efficient treatment options. Make sure you keep a record of all the changes in your cycle and those late periods. And whenever you notice any change in your body, do not hesitate to show the doctor. All of these will help them make a proper diagnosis.
If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:
- Severe pain
- Bleeding that exceeds seven days.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bleeding after entering menopause with no periods for over a year.
- Heavy bleeding
- Milk production or breast secretions
- Hair loss
- Vision changes
- Excess hair growth
Whether or not you are busy, it’s sometimes easy to forget when you should expect your period, and knowing if it’s (your period) is late can be tricky. There are several apps on a different platform that lets you keep track of your period.
The takeaway from 321 Lifestyle
There are different reasons for late periods, and even though most of these reasons are not threatening, you shouldn’t ignore the signs. Immediate evaluation and treatment are essential, especially if you’ve experienced late periods several times. Missing more than one period is a bad sign, and you should seek help right away.
The entire treatment depends solely on the reason for the missed or late period. Some of these treatments include hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes, such as stress reduction or diet. With all of these in mind, your period should be back to normal in no time. So, what are your thoughts? You can start with a simple home pregnancy test to make things easier. Leave a comment in the text box below; we’d love to hear from you. Cheers!