Why You Don’t Want To Go Too Long Without Your Period
Missing your period for more than a few months could be a sign of something more serious.
“Absent periods due to long-term use of the Depo-Provera injection and Nexplanon implant, both forms of birth control, can lead to bone loss,” says Regina Cardaci, PhD, RN, at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
Although missing your menstrual cycle does not cause ovarian cancer, , MD, a family and emergency doctor, says there may be a link with a history of irregular cycles.
Because of the increased risk of serious health complications, she recommends seeing your doctor if you miss more than two periods. “Early evaluation and diagnosis can possibly lead to better outcomes,” says Nesheiwat.
What Is A Late Period
Although a few people might have pinpoint predictability with periods, most have a little variation. So if your period is a day or two late, dont panic.
Your menstrual cycle is the length of time from day one of your period to day one of your next period, Dr. Higgins says. On average, these cycles are 24 to 38 days long.
That means that a 28-day cycle one month and a 26-day cycle the next month is probably nothing to worry about. Your period might be considered late if:
- Its been more than 38 days since your last period.
- Youre normally really regular, and your period is more than three days late.
How Long Does A Period Typically Last
There’s a pretty big range of normal when it comes to period length. “Usually, it can last anywhere between five to seven days,” says Jessica Shepherd, MD, a minimally invasive gynecologist in Dallas. “But there are times at which it can be a few days longer or shorter.”
Here’s a little Menstrual Cycle 101: During each cycle, your body’s sending hormones to thicken the lining of the uterus to make it a nice little home for a potentially fertilized egg. About midway through your cycle, one of your ovaries releases an egg, which then travels down the fallopian tubes to this newly plush uterus where, if it’s not fertilized by a sperm, it flows out of the body, along with the uterine lining that built up.
While this process is the same for nearly every woman, the length of their periods might differ depending on their specific hormonal shifts over the course of their cycle, which affects the endometrium development, and in turn, the number of days it takes for it to shed, Dr. Shepherd explains.
So, if your period is a day or two longer or shorter than your usual period length and you don’t notice any other symptoms or issues that seem unusual for you , it’s probably not a reason to be concerned.
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You Have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a condition caused by sexually transmitted bacteria, like that from gonorrhea and chlamydia, traveling from the cervix into the fallopian tube. PID can cause bleeding that is heavier than normal, spotting between menstrual cycles or spotting after sex.
If you have abnormal bleeding and pain, get a pelvic exam and get tested for sexually transmitted infections, says Dr. Horton. They can be treated with medication, which will stop the progression of PID too. Left untreated though, and PID can cause lasting issues with fertility.
Give It To Me Straight: Why Did I Miss My Period On Birth Control
Before you get too worried about whether to get a pregnancy test, remember: Birth control pills are 91% effective with average use and over 99% effective if you take them correctly, every day.
Menstrual bleeding changes are normal when you’re on birth control, say global women’s health experts.
You could have lighter, more frequent, or no periods at all when you’re taking the pill or using another hormonal method.
Unless you have other pregnancy symptoms or health conditions, doctors say that it is common for women on hormonal contraception to have missed periods. You could also have early or late periods, or just spotting. Therefore missing your period while on birth control isn’t necessarily cause for alarm unless you have other concerning symptoms. Always talk to your doctor about it, though, if you’re worried.
Editor’s note: Don’t get us wrong, though. Regular periods are a sign your body is working as expected. But we’re specifically talking about periods on birth control, which don’t necessarily fall into that bucket. Find out why further down.
Key stats on the failure rate of birth control pills:
For women who use the oral contraceptive pill perfectly , the percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy in the first year of use was 0.3%.
With typical or average use , the percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy in the first year of using the pill was 9%.
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Does A Missed Period For 2 Months Mean I’m Pregnant
When you are pregnant, your menstrual periods will stop. However, a missed period doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant. If you’re wondering whether you might be pregnant, there are a few points that point to a possible pregnancy. These include:
- You were actively trying to get pregnant in the months before.
- You ovulated prior to your period’s stopping.
- You had sexual intercourse in the ovulation window .
- You were sexually active and not using birth control.
If all of the above points are true, then you have a good chance of being pregnant.
Signs of Early Pregnancy
The only way to truly know if you’re pregnant is a positive pregnancy test and confirmation by a doctor. However, there are a few signs that may give clues to a possible pregnancy. If a missed period for 2 months is due to pregnancy, you’ll start feeling the symptoms below around the four-week mark. Some women even notice subtle changes sooner than four-weeks.
- Breast tenderness
- Breast fullness
- Lower abdominal bloating and fullness
- Feeling short of breath with exercise
- Sensitive to smells
- Feeling tired all the time
- Needing to urinate more often
- Higher than normal body temperature
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- Home pregnancy test is positive
- You want a pregnancy test done in the office
- Sexual intercourse within the last 3 months
- Recent breast swelling, weight gain or nausea
- Teen acts sick
- Has missed 2 or more periods and prior periods were regular
- Recent weight loss
Recent Stress Causing Late Period
You’re On Hormonal Birth Control
Anything that manipulates your hormones has the potential to make your periods longer, says Dr. Toth. This includes all types of hormonal birth control like the pill, patches, rings, shots, and implants. The good news is that there are lots of options with varying levels and types of hormones, so if your body doesn’t respond well to one type or dosage, there’s a good chance you can find a different one that will work.
The length of your period is just one factor your doctor will use to help you determine which type of birth control works best for you.
Reasons Why You May Have A Missed Period On Birth Control
- Reviewed By: Shannon DeVita DNP, FNP-BC, CPNP-PC, Julie Lamonoff, CNM, OBGYN-NP
Is something wrong if you don’t get your period while taking birth control pills? Maybe, but more likely there’s a reasonable cause for it.
We know that it’ll take some convincing, though, because, let’s face it – you’re taking birth control to prevent pregnancy, and this is an important question.
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Reasons For Missed Periods
There are many reasons why you may have missed your period. Some women miss periods regularly because they don’t ovulate regularly. You might also miss a period if you have a change in your sleep patterns, for example, or if you start working night shifts which can throw your cycles out of whack as your body learns to adjust to it.
You can also miss your period if your weight is too low. After a certain amount of body fat, you may not have the hormone production to sustain your periods. This is often true if you’re a very competitive athlete or suffer from disordered eating like anorexia or even bulimia.
Sometimes stress can be a reason that your period is missing. This can usually be determined easily by a discussion with your doctor.
Dont Ignore A Missed Period
If you keep track of your periods, youll probably know right away if something is amiss. Keep a period diary in your calendar or get an app designed for that purpose. Your period records can provide valuable information for you and your doctor.
Doctors want to know details about your previous periods so we can determine if theres an issue, Dr. Higgins says. An occasional late period is often the result of something minor, but if you frequently have late or irregular periods, check with your doctor to rule out other health conditions.
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What To Do If You Miss Your Period
If you miss your period, you should wait at first. Give it a few days to make sure you didn’t miscalculate or do something to mix up the dates or that you aren’t simply late. Many practitioners at this point, may recommend a pregnancy test.
You can take a pregnancy test at home or your can go into your doctor’s office. If it’s positive, you have your answer: You missed your period because you were pregnant. If it is negative, you may want to wait a bit and try again.
Seeing your doctor if you are worried is never a bad option. If you are planning to get pregnant soon, you can use the visit to start your preconception health plan. This is a great way to get your body on track to be pregnant. This helps you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
If you are not ready to be pregnant, they can help you determine what your reproductive life plan may look like to stay healthy and avoid pregnancy until the point where you make a decision to have children or permanently decide to not have children.
Does A Missed Period Mean You’re Pregnant
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about womens health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.
When you don’t get your period as expected, you might start to worry. The absence of your normal menstrual cycle can be concerning since it can indicate a pregnancy or it may be related to an illness or stress. It is considered one of the major possible signs of early pregnancy.
People have different names for it such as a late period, skipping a cycle, or a missed period. In essence, it simply means that your normal menstrual cycle or period didn’t happen when it should have happened. Throughout your lifetime, you may have a missed period for a variety of reasons. It may also just be delayed.
Many women will go through various cycle abnormalities in their life due to various factors. This is not necessarily a problem for all women, but can also indicate a larger health concern for some. A missed cycle can also make trying to get pregnant or confirming early pregnancy more difficult for others.
Recap: The 4 Reasons Why You May Have Missed Your Period On Birth Control
We talked about 4 solid reasons why you may have missed your period this month, even though you’re taking birth control. Here they are again:
The birth control pills themselves may cause you to miss periods
Emotional/physical stress on your body
Gynecological problems like PCOS
Natural causes like pregnancy.
The main message is generally not to worry about being pregnant if you’ve been taking your pills and have no other concerning symptoms. But if you’re concerned, you can always ask your health care provider.
Reasons For A Late Period
Now that weve explained what qualifies as a regular menstrual cycle, lets go over why some people have late or irregular periods.
During the early stages of puberty, its common to have irregular cycles. Its normal for adolescents to have irregular cycles for the first three years after they get their period. This is because the ovaries may not be releasing an egg every month yet, since hormone levels are still changing. However, for people who are already past that phase, there are lots of other things that can cause a late period and irregular periods.
Here are eight common causes of a late period:
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Youre Under A Lot Of Stress
The bodys reaction to stress can change the levels of many hormones that cause your period to last longer than necessary, says Dr. Horton.
Stress can cause delayed ovulation, causing your period to start later than expected, which can make your periods longer and heavier than usual, she explains. Identifying and eliminating stressors in your life will help regulate your periods over time. Meditation, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise are also effective ways to manage stress.
When To See The Doctor
It is advised to get a medical consultation after your teens first period itself. If your teen has irregular periods or missed periods, make an appointment with a gynecologist to identify the cause and take preventive measures if required.
If your teen is pregnant, you may seek medical care for the evaluationof both the mother and baby. An early prenatal visit could help reduce the risk of complications associated with teen pregnancy and delivery.
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Things That Delay Your Period
A missed period is often the first sign of pregnancy, but there are other reasons for lateness, too. Here are some other factors that can delay your monthly flow:
Extreme diet and exercise
A healthy diet and regular exercise can do wonders for your health. But if you overdo it, you might say bye-bye to your periods, at least temporarily.
Athletes who train really hard or who dont get enough calories may stop menstruating, Dr. Higgins says. Its the bodys way of telling you that it doesnt have enough resources to support a pregnancy.
When your periods stop due to weight loss, diet or exercise, youre experiencing secondary amenorrhea. This means you previously had periods, but they have stopped. Secondary amenorrhea might happen to you if you:
- Eat an extreme, calorie-restricted diet.
- Have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia.
- Lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.
- Undergo hardcore exercise training, such as for a .
Polycystic ovary syndrome
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that interferes with the release of an egg . When you dont ovulate, you usually dont have a period. Many people with PCOS have irregular, late or missing periods. Other symptoms of PCOS include:
- Excess facial or body hair.
- Thinning hair.
- Weight gain or trouble losing weight.
Doctors diagnose PCOS by checking your symptoms and performing medical tests when needed. Medication and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms.
Some examples of major stress include: