What Is An Irregular Period
For those who are still confused about what counts as an irregular cycle, lets break it down for you. You know for certain that you cant count your days if:
- You get your period more than once within 21 days
- Its been more than 35 days since your last period
- The length of your period cycle fluctuates within a wide range
- Your period lasts longer than 7 days
Your body doesnt need to follow the standard 28-day cycle but the larger bracket is between 21 and 35 days. Additionally, the length of your cycle should always almost be the same. For example, if one month the cycle is 31 days and the next month its 34, thats okay. But experiencing a cycle of 25 days one month and 34 days the next month is something you need to get checked.
Can Stress Make Your Period Late
Absolutely! Stress and anxiety can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to many symptoms such as diarrhea, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, and late periods. Stress can suppress the action of certain hormones that are needed to regulate your menstrual cycle. Thats why finding effective stress management techniques can be helpful in regulating your menstrual cycle.
What To Do If Stress Delays Your Period
If you suspect that stress is the cause of your delayed period, there are several lifestyle changes you can make. Firstly, it is important to identify the possible causes of your stress and understand the level of stress youre under.
Keeping a journal is one way to do this. Talking to a therapist is another. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are common methods that many people find helpful. In some cases, cognitive behavioral therapy may be recommended.
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Youre Using Hormonal Birth Control
Many love the pill because it makes their periods so regular. But it can sometimes have the opposite effect, especially during the first few months of use.
Similarly, when you stop taking the pill, it can take a few months for your cycle to get back to normal. As your body returns to its baseline hormone levels, you may miss your period for a few months.
If youre using another hormonal birth control method, including an IUD, implant, or shot, you might completely stop getting your period.
When Do You Get Your Period On Birth Control Pills
Once youve started your seven-day break from the pill each month, youll usually start to bleed two to four days into the pill-free week. This varies for each person, but birth control tends to make cycles very regular. That means that after a few months on the pill, youll probably find that your period usually starts on the same day of that week every month.
Youll probably be getting your withdrawal bleeding every 28 days, but even after your body has gotten used to the pill, you can still experience late “periods” on birth control.
Keep in mind that your birth control only works effectively if you take it correctly. If youve forgotten to take three or more non-placebo pills, you could experience withdrawal bleeding before your seven-day break is scheduled. This would mean that you are no longer protected for the month and that you need to use a backup method of birth control and start a new pack.
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Your New Exercise Regimen Could Be Depleting Hormone Levels That Make Your Period Happen
Even if you aren’t training overly strenuously, any change in exercise habits can cause changes in your period, according to a Harvard Study reported by the New York Times.
Strenuous exercise decreases the body’s estrogen levels and since estrogen is the primary hormone that triggers ovulation, a lack of it can slow down the entire menstrual cycle. Sometimes this can result in delays that last as long as several months.
How Is It Treated
The treatment depends on the cause. Examples of possible treatments are:
- Exercising less if you have a very strenuous exercise program
- Learning to manage stress if stress may be a cause
- Taking birth control pills or other hormone medicine to help your body have the right balance of hormones
- Having surgery
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Why Does Plan B Affect Your Period This Way
Plan B uses a synthetic hormone called levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy by stopping an egg from being released.
Levonorgestrel is found in birth control pills, but Plan B contains a higher dose that can alter your bodys natural hormone levels.
The extra hormones can, in turn, affect the menstrual cycle, leading to an earlier or delayed period as well as heavier or lighter bleeding.
Reasons For A Missed Period
Pregnancy is by far the most common cause of a missed period, but there are some other medical and lifestyle factors that can affect your menstrual cycle. Extreme weight loss, hormonal irregularities, and menopause are among the most common causes if you’re not pregnant.
You may miss a period for one or two months, or you may experience complete amenorrheathat is, no period for three or more months in a row. This article explores 10 common reasons your period may be delayed.
Verywell / Cindy Chung
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Reasons Your Period Is Late
During your usual morning routine, you open your cabinet, spot a box of tampons in the back, and you suddenly realize youre late. When was my last period? you think as you try to remember the last time you needed to reach for that box. Panic then takes over as your mind shoots straight to pregnancy.
While being pregnant is a possible reason for a missed period, there may be factors related to your health or lifestyle that are causing the delay, notes Shelley White-Corey, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A& M Health Science Center College of Nursing and a womens health nurse practitioner.
Your period may not make an appearance after your baby is born, but dont be alarmed! If you are breastfeeding your little one, a lack of periods is completely normal. Referred to as lactational amenorrhea, this is a phase that disrupts the rhythm of your menstrual cycle. After a few months, your monthly period should be right back on track.
Weight loss or weight gain
Whether youre overweight or underweight, any change in pounds can affect your monthly cycle. Common health problems linked to weight and irregular menstruation include eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, and uncontrolled diabetes. If you suspect this might be an issue for you, see your health care provider right away.
Sleep schedule changes
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Missed Periods And Pregnancy
If youve had unprotected sex, you may have missed your period because youre pregnant. You may want to rule out pregnancy first by taking a pregnancy test, or you can see if you need to take a test with our Am I pregnant quiz.
Keep an eye out for any early pregnancy symptoms, like:
- tender breasts
These symptoms coupled with a missed period could mean you are pregnant
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Common Causes Of Missed Periods
The most common cause of a missed period is pregnancy. However, if youre not sexually active, havent had sex in a few months, or got a negative result on your pregnancy test, you already know thats not the issue.
That leads us to other possibilities. While one late or missing period isnt worth fretting about, you shouldnt let it become a common occurrence. Here are the five most common causes of irregular periods, and what you can do about them.
Major Weight Loss Or Gain
When it comes to surprise weight changes, Aunt Flo is the first to notice. The length and heaviness of a menstrual cycle is directly correlated with weight, says A. Nicky Hjort, M.D., OB-GYN. If you gain weight, an abnormal period often happens next. It might be heavy one month and absent the next. Rapid weight loss produces a similar effect, causing a light or missed period. This is also true if youre engaging in excessive exercise, Hjort adds. Endurance athletes who are often on the move are likely to experience this. Why the correlation? It comes down to the ability of fat cells to produce extra estrogen, the female sex hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle. When theres too much or too little, a hormonal imbalance occurs and causes irregular or missed periods. In essence, any rapid weight change can shock your body. Getting your body back to an appropriately healthy weight can help regulate your cycle.
Why Does Stress Cause Delayed/missed/late Periods
Even if you rarely have to deal with irregular periods, sometimes stress can throw a wrench in the works and mess up your whole menstrual cycle.
Yup, stress can actually cause your period to be late or delayed when your body is so freaked out by keeping you calm and whatâs happening around you, that makes you anxious, that your bodyâs hormones hold off on critical parts of your menstrual cycle, like ovulation. Think about it from a cavewoman perspective. Stress causes your body to go into fight-or-flight mode, and if youâre running from a giant wooly mammoth, letâs say, it makes sense that your body would be like, âOh this would be a not-so-great time to have a baby right nowâ and hit pause on keeping your reproductive systems ready-to-go. While yes, this does introduce a whole new set of stress, your body probably thinks that Cavewoman-you would likely not have time to ask, âOh crap, why is my period late?â in this scenario.
Ideally you are not so anxious that your body interprets your stress level as running-from-wooly-mammoth-high, but you get it.
Youre Entering The Menopause
Going through the change, that time of life, whatever you want to call it, the menopause is a normal and natural part of life for women. It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55 and is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Your cycle may change and you may start missing periods as you approach the menopause.
Periods can often be unpredictable and most women will experience a late or missed period at least once in their life. If youre worried about your periods and find yourself having a monthly freak out every time your period is running a little late, it may be worth having a chat with your GP to help put your mind at ease.
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Can Depression Make Your Period Late
There are many reasons a woman’s period may be late or her cycle may go off schedule. An obvious one is pregnancy. Others include poor nutrition, excessive exercise, and long-term illness. A less obvious reason for amenorrhea or missing a period, however, is depression.
The link between mental health and reproductive health makes sense when you consider that nature does everything it can to create favorable conditions for reproduction.
If a woman is chronically stressed, anxious, sad, or upset, she’s really not in a physical or emotional position to go through a pregnancy and then take care of and nurture a child. Under these less than ideal conditions, the female reproductive system can shut down.
What Are Some Possible Other Reasons Behind My Irregular Period What Are Some Common Late Period Causes Besides Stress
There are a lot of factors besides stress that can impact your menstrual cycle and cause a delayed or late period, like pregnancy, birth control , menopause, weight loss, and too much exercise. Hormone changes could also be a cause of why your period is late that youâd wanna chat over with your doctor.
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What Is Chemical Stress
Women who are taking medications for seizure disorders, diabetes, thyroid conditions, hypertension, depression or other conditions might notice irregularities with their menstrual cycles. These medications can interfere with the hormones that are responsible for menstruation. Some may even cause loss of menstruation, says Dr. Fyffe.
Why Am I Not Getting My Period At All
The medical term for absent periods is amenorrhea, and is considered to occur when a woman who has previously had normal periods stops menstruating for six months or more. Many of the causes of amenorrhea are the same as those for a skipped period. Your period can be absent for a number of reasons:
The most common reason to not get your period is because you are pregnant. A home pregnancy test can quickly tell you if that is the reason.
Most women stop getting their periods in their late 40s or early 50s. The average age is 51 years old.
If you breastfeed frequently, including at night-time, you may not get a period for many months. Be aware that you will ovulate prior to getting your period back, so birth control is important if you are not ready to be pregnant again.
While a sudden stressful life event can result in a single missed period, ongoing, high level stress and anxiety can cause your period to stop altogether. Managing stress though self-care, counselling, changing your life circumstances, medication, or other strategies can help you return to having normal periods.
Ongoing, dramatic weight loss, from low intake, excessive exercise, gastric bypass surgery, or eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia can stop your period. This happens because the hormones required for ovulation are not produced.
High levels of prolactin
Premature ovarian failure
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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.
Warm Compress Or Bath
A warm bath can do wonders for relaxing tight muscles and relieving emotional stress. Perhaps this is the reason for anecdotal reports that this can help to bring on your period.
The heat isnt only relaxing. It may also increase blood flow to the area, thus gently accelerating the menstrual cycle.
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