My Period Is Late: Is There Any Reason To Be Worried
Numerous studies show that a slight variation in the length of your menstrual cycle is normal.
More than 100 women with average menstrual cycle lengths took part in a large-scale study that showed interesting results: cycle variability of more than seven days was observed in 42.5 percent of the participants! As you can see, a one to two-day variation is very common.
Another large study conducted by Flo and the University of Adelaide showed that only about 16 percent of the participants had a 28-day cycle, even though you might have been told this was the typical length for menstrual cycles.
Youve Lost Or Gained Weight
Severe changes in body weight can screw with your periods timing. Extreme increases or decreases in body fat, for example, can lead to a hormonal imbalance that causes your period to come late or stop entirely.
In addition, severe calorie restriction affects the part of your brain that talks to your endocrine system and gives instructions for the creation of reproductive hormones. When this communication channel is disrupted, hormones can get out of whack.
Reasons Your Period Could Be Late Besides Being Pregnant
Whether you get your period every 28 days like clockwork or have a flow that prefers to come and go as it pleases, having a period go MIA often feels like cause for alarm. Your mind runs wild with thoughts of pregnancy tests and ultrasounds and watching your baby graduate college – an imaginary life that youve created and nurtured and helped grow all because that little bit of blood you were hoping to find this morning didnt make its appearance. Whether pregnancy right now is your goal or youre holding off temporarily or forever, a fetus in utero is certainly not the only cause of a period gone rogue. Here are 6 reasons, besides being pregnant, that your period could be late.
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You Used Emergency Contraception Sometime In The Past Few Months
If you’ve taken emergency contraception, like Plan B, as a precautionary measure after unprotected sex, there’s a chance it could be making your period very late. Princeton reported several studies that showed menstrual cycle lengths were altered after women took emergency contraception.
However, if your period is more than a week late and you recently took emergency contraception, The Center for Women’s Health suggests seeing your health care provider.
Home Urine Pregnancy Tests
- Home urine pregnancy tests do not cost very much. They are easy to use. Most drugstores sell these tests. No prescription is needed.
- Urine pregnancy tests are very accurate. They can turn positive as early as the first week after a missed period.
- It is best to do the pregnancy test first thing in the morning. Reason: hormone levels are higher in the morning urine.
- Sometimes, a home test is negative even if you think you might be pregnant. In this case, repeat the test. Do the repeat test in 3-5 days. You can also go to a doctor’s office for testing.
- A pregnancy testing fact sheet can be found at www.womenshealth.gov. Search “pregnancy tests.”
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Reasons Why Your Period Might Be Delayed
A typical menstrual cycle is considered to be 21 to 35 days.
The absence of menstruation is called amenorrhea. Girls who havent started their periods by the age of 15 and women who have missed three or more periods in a row have amenorrhea.
There are several possible causes of delayed or missing periods:
Substances that can help to induce a period are called emmenagogues. Be aware that some emmenagogues are also abortifacients. An abortifacient is a substance that can cause miscarriages in pregnancy.
If theres any chance your period is late because you are pregnant, using emmenagogues to induce a period may terminate your pregnancy. This can be very dangerous. If theres any chance you are pregnant, do not take these substances.
If you are trying any herbs, buy from a reputable source. The FDA doesnt monitor herbs like they do food and drugs, and there may be concerns with quality or purity, especially if the herbs are produced outside of the United States.
How Long Does It Take To Miss A Period After Conception
Most people miss their period around two weeks after conception. Thats because conception tends to happen around day 1214 before your next period starts, which is when you ovulate. Two weeks after that, youre on approximately day 28 of your cycle, which is when you would normally expect your period to come.
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Reasons Your Period May Be Lateother Than Pregnancy
Unless you’re trying for a baby, getting your period regularly is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you have to deal with cramps, bloating, and mood swings. On the other, yay, youre not pregnant! Suddenly missing your period when babies arent on the agenda can be a real freak-out moment, but there are a few other factors that may be to blame. Here, ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, MD, coauthor of V Is for Vagina, offers potential reasons your period is late that have nothing to do with a bouncing bundle of joy.
Major Weight Loss or Excessive ExerciseThis is a reason I see not that infrequently in my office,” says Dweck. “If your BMI rapidly dips below 18 or 19, you may start to miss periods.” This isnt strictly based on BMI, though. Serious conditions like anorexia and bulimia can cause missed periods, but so can training for a marathon or some other major event that requires you to exercise more than usual. “Nature has a way of protecting you from getting pregnant if your body is under such extreme stress. Your body prevents ovulation so you dont have a lot of estrogen, dont build a big uterine lining, and then don’t get a period,” says Dweck.
Your Birth Control
The Best Time To Take A Pregnancy Test
If you have a regular menstrual cycle , then you are only at risk of pregnancy if you had unprotected heterosexual sex or had a high risk of sperm touching your genitals during your fertile window. This is the six days leading up to and including ovulation, usually around the middle of your cycle . You can take a pregnancy test about two weeks after your estimated ovulation day, but the earlier you take a test the less accurate it may be and some brands are more sensitive than others . You should probably take a pregnancy test or contact your healthcare provider if your period is nine or more days late.
If you have an irregular cycle , then unprotected sex or exposure of sperm on your genitals at most times represents a risk. You can take a pregnancy test about two weeks after your last unprotected sexual encounter, though the earlier you take a test the less accurate it may be and some brands are more sensitive than others .
If you get a negative result at first and your period still hasnât come after a week, you might want to try taking another pregnancy testâjust to be sure. The sooner you know if you are pregnant or not, the sooner youâll be able to develop a plan . You can get confidential testing and counseling in most healthcare providersâ offices and clinics.
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You’ve Been Getting Less Sleep Than Usual
Our bodies need sleep for a number of reasons, including regulating our temperature and ensuring our organs are functioning normally. Since the uterus itself is an organ, it should come as no surprise that a lack of sleep can negatively impact its ability to do its job.
In 2008, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported that individuals with sleep disorders, like delayed sleep syndrome, were highly likely to have irregular menstrual periods.
How Many People Have Irregular Periods
In a South Korean study published in PloS One in March 2019, over 14 percent of 4,709 adult women ages 19 to 54 reported having irregular menstruation. In another, occupational status was found to have an effect: Service, manual overnight shift and sales workers, and unemployed women had higher risks of developing irregular menstrual cycles.
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I Missed My Period Could I Be Pregnant
Reactions can range from disgraced expletives to nagging excitement and instantaneously the past, present and future feels changed somehow. I missed my period can be the words you have longed to say or can cause anxiety and discomfort like no other phrase in life. The bottom line is that a missed period can indicate many things from illness or stress to pregnancy and it is a transforming moment in every womans life. The consideration then turns to what to do next.
Missing a period in lots of ways is a metaphorical passageway into woman hood. Whether you have been trying to get pregnant or trying not to, the moment you realize you are late, worlds all of them yours come crashing together. Even if you have been frantically trying and timing sex in order to conceive, the moment of truth can be difficult. Regardless of what we think, we want in life when things actually come to pass or have the chance of doing so it is like sitting on a teeter-totter stuck at the high end. How to get down or at least low enough to touch the grounded soil beneath your feet can be difficult especially alone. First thing to do is find someone to sit on the teeter totter with you, preferably one who is supportive and have them accompany you to the nearest drug store. Then spend your 10-20 bucks on a decent pregnancy test so you can understand the realities of your fate.
Your Weight Or Diet Has Dramatically Changed
Styer says that if youve lost or gained a high amount of weight, your cycle may be affected. Your changing diet may also be the cause of a late period, Druet notes. Severely restricting the amount of calories you consume or not getting enough calories for how much you exercise can cause the reproductive hormones to stop, whilst weight gain can cause estrogen to rise, she says. Bothcan affect the menstrual cycle.
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How Late Can A Period Be
A typical menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but depending on the woman, a healthy cycle can be a short as 21 or as long as 35 days. Track your period over several months to look for cycle patterns and changes . This will help you figure out what a normal menstrual cycle usually looks like for you.
A period is usually considered late if it hasnt started within seven days of when you expect it .
Can You Have An Abnormal Mammogram After Covid Vaccine
The COVID vaccine has also been found to enlarge lymph nodes. While this is a normal immune system reaction, it can light up a routine mammogram and cause concern for radiologists looking to flag signs of cancer. This typically occurs on the same side you received the shot, and typically only lasts for a few weeks, Dr. Geeta Swamyâa maternal-fetal medicine specialist and a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists COVID vaccine groupâtold The New York Times.
To avoid confusion and alarm, the Society of Breast Imaging recommends scheduling mammograms before your first dose or at least one month after your second.
If youâre wondering, Can the COVID vaccine delay your period? or if youve experienced abrupt changes to your menstrual cycle, contact your doctor. You can also use period tracker apps to monitor symptoms, flow, and ovulation.
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Is Depression The Problem
Amenorrhea caused by chronic stress and depression is called hypothalamic amenorrhea. If you tend to eat more or less than usual when you’re depressed and have gained or lost weight, that also could play a part in your menstrual irregularities.
If your doctor has determined that depression is behind your late or missed periods, getting back on track will be a matter of finding an effective way to reduce your stress and treat your depression.
Anemia And Iron Deficiency
Anemia is defined as the low content of red blood cells, responsible for carrying oxygen to every cell of your body. It is the most common blood condition in the U.S, affecting almost 6% of the population.
If a woman is iron deficient or faces issues with proper absorption of iron, it may impair the flow of blood in the body and, as a result, make you skip periods or have them fairly late. Treatment focuses on determining the reason behind the low iron levels and supplementation.
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There’s An Issue With Your Thyroid
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck and it has a lot of responsibilities. It’s mostly known for regulating the body’s metabolism and temperature, but when it is producing too few or too many hormones it can impact your menstrual cycle.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, hypothyroidism often causes menstrual irregularities, including both late and absent periods. A study from the late 90s reported that hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid, can throw off your cycle, too.
What Happens To Your Body If You Skip A Period
According to Dr. Speichinger, missing one period isnt dangerous, but if you go more than three months without a period or continue to miss periods intermittently over a long period of time, there is the potential for problems depending on the reason why its happening. Some hormonal imbalances can affect the health of the uterus over time.
If the lack of a period is due to too much estrogen compared to other hormones, as is the case with PCOS or excess weight, then there is the added risk of having abnormal cells develop in the uterus, Dr. Speichinger explains.
If you dont know the reason for your menstrual irregularities or missed periods, its a good idea to check in with your provider. Notify your doctor at your annual examinations if your cycle is irregular, Dr. Gibson says. If you miss a cycle, take a pregnancy test, if you miss more than two periods, contact your doctor.
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