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.
Diagnosis Of Amenorrhea In Teens
Your teens doctor may ask about the symptoms and menstrual history of your teen. They may also do a physical examination, including a pelvic exam, to look for any visible abnormalities or signs of conditions that cause amenorrhea.
Amenorrhea is diagnosed in the following scenarios :
- Absence of menarche by the age of 15 years
- Lack of menstruation for three months or more in a girl with regular cycles
- Missed menstruation for six months or more in a girl with irregular cycles
The following tests may be ordered to identify the underlying cause of amenorrhea :
- Blood tests: Hormone levels, pregnancy, thyroid disorder
- Urine analysis: pregnancy and overall health
- Pelvic ultrasound: Ultrasonographic imaging of the pelvic area can help identify the structural causes of amenorrhea.
Your teen may also require a few additional tests and consultations to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of possible underlying causes. These tests are usually suggested by your teens doctor.
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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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When To See Your Doctor
If your periods seem irregular, or youve missed a period but know youre not pregnant, its a good idea to talk with your doctor ASAP, as there are many reasons and conditions that could be causing the issue.
Your doctor can properly diagnose the reason for your late or missed period and discuss your treatment options. If you can, keep a record of changes in your cycle as well as other health changes. This will help them make a diagnosis.
If you have the following symptoms, contact a doctor immediately, or call 911:
The Basics Of Birth Control Pills
When you swallow birth control pills, youre ingesting one or more synthetic hormones. This could be a combination of estrogen and progestin, or just progestin, depending on the type of birth control that youre taking. These hormones work to prevent pregnancy in three different ways.
They also thicken the cervical mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to reach an egg if one is released. The hormones can thin the uterine lining, too. This means that if an egg does get fertilized, itll be difficult for it to attach to the uterine lining and develop.
Birth control pills are over 99 percent effective when used correctly. This means taking the pill at the same time every day. If you miss a day or youre late taking your pill, the efficacy can decrease. With typical use, the failure rate is about
Several different types of birth control pills are available.
Some are similar to the pill packs that were first made available in 1960. They included 21 days of pills with active hormones and seven placebo or inactive pills. When you take an inactive pill, it allows for bleeding that mimics normal menstruation.
There are also packs that allow for 24 days of active pills and a shorter menstrual-like bleeding period.
Extended-cycle or continuous regimens consist of a couple of months worth of active pills. They can either reduce the number of periods you have or eliminate your period entirely.
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How Late Can My Period Come
Your period is generally considered late once it?s been at least 30 days since the start of your last period. Many things can cause this to happen, from routine lifestyle changes to underlying medical conditions. If your period is regularly late, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to determine the cause.
How Long Does A Normal Menstrual Cycle Last
A menstrual cycle is the time from the day your period starts to the time your next period starts. Your menstrual cycle may vary from 21 to 35 days long. Most periods last 3 to 5 days, but anywhere from 2 to 7 days is normal. Menstrual cycles may start around the same date every month or they may be irregular.
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Sometimes, abnormal growths in your uterus can cause your period to go wacko. These include:
Polyps: These little growths on the cervix or inside the uterus are caused by an overgrowth of uterine lining. Uterine polpys tend to cause bleeding between periods, and cervical polyps lead to bleeding after sex, says Dweck. You likely wont notice any other symptoms youre more at risk if youre obese, diabetic, or have high blood pressure, says Shepherd. Often, your doctor will recommend just keeping an eye on them. But if bleeding is particularly problematic, your doctor may surgically remove ovarian polyps cervical polyps can be easily removed in office.
Ovarian cysts: These fluid-filled sacs form in or on the ovaries, typically as a byproduct of ovulation. In addition to irregular periods, they cause bloating and pain. Many cysts arent problematic and go away on their own. Depending on the size, location, and symptoms, your doctor may watch and wait or put you on birth control to help shrink the cyst and get your period back in line, says Dweck. About one in 10 women end up needing minimally-invasive surgery.
Endometriosis: When the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus, women experience super-heavy bleeding with painful cramps, intestinal pain, and sensitivity, and spotting between periods. If your doctor determines you have endometriosis, she may put you on birth control in more severe cases, surgery may be necessary, Dweck says.
When To See Your Gp
See your GP if you’re not pregnant you’ve had a negative pregnancy test and you’ve missed more than 3 periods in a row.
If you’re sexually active and you have not taken a pregnancy test, your GP may advise you to take one.
They may also ask you about:
- your medical history
- any emotional issues you’re having
- any recent changes in your weight
- the amount of exercise you do
Your GP may recommend waiting to see whether your periods return on their own. In some cases you may need treatment for your periods to return.
You should also see your GP if your periods stop before you’re 45 or if you’re still bleeding when you’re over 55.
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What About A Missed Period On The Copper Coil
There are lots of reasons why you might have a late or missed period with the copper coil . The copper coil is hormone free so should not affect your natural cycle . So in this case, other things may affect your natural cycle include stress, illness, excessive exercise, or weight change. Sometimes we never know what caused the disruption.
If you have an IUD and your period is late, you can do a pregnancy test if youre worried. In some rare cases women with copper coils can have ectopic pregnancy . If you have a positive pregnancy test, then you need to seek urgent medical attention.
When To Visit The Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you cant pinpoint the reasons for a late period they may want to check for various conditions. Its also important to note that vaginal bleeding after a late period may not be the monthly visitor you were expecting. Anybody who experiences heavy bleeding and pain after a missed period and/or a positive pregnancy test should go to the doctor, says Dr. McDonald. All bleeding is not a period, especially in a setting where something is off.
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Stress Is Getting To You
Work has been totally nuts or your class load has you pulling all-nighters. I describe it to women as whatever stress youre under, your body decided it was not a good time to get pregnant. Its your bodys way of protecting you, says Dr. Goist. But as long as you can get your stress under control and its an isolated thing, its no big deal if you miss a period or its super late one time.
Im Not Pregnant So Why Is My Period Late
So the pregnancy test came out negative, and you still havent got your period, what then? There are many reasons why you may miss or skip a period, or why your periods may stop altogether.
If pregnancy cannot be ruled out after a negative test result, you may be late or have skipped your period due to:
There are many reasons why your period is late or skipped, and most, like stress, are no cause for alarm and your periods can return to normal with a few healthy lifestyle changes.
However, to rule out any causes for concern, if you miss more than one period you may want to see your doctor for medical advice.
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Stopped Or Missed Periods
There are many reasons why a woman may miss her period, or why periods might stop altogether.
Most women have a period every 28 days or so, but it’s common to have a slightly shorter or longer cycle than this .
Some women do not always have a regular menstrual cycle. Their period may be early or late, and how long it lasts and how heavy it is may vary each time.
Youve Lost Or Gained Weight
Severe changes in body weight can lead to a condition known as secondary amenorrhea, which means missing your period for three months or more. This is particularly common when your BMI undergoes a rapid change.
Extreme increases or decreases in body fat can lead to a chaotic 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, giving instructions for the production of reproductive hormones. When this communication channel is disrupted, hormones can get really out of whack.
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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 .
How Many Days After My Period Can I Get Pregnant
Ovulation or the fertile window occurs between days 12 and 20 of your cycle, and studies have reported that you are more likely to become pregnant during this time because an egg is released from your ovary.
The exact time depends on the length of your cycle.
- If your menstrual cycle is of 28 days, you will ovulate near the 14th day, and your most fertile days are probably days 12, 13, and 14.
- If your menstrual cycle is around 35 days, ovulation will happen near the 21st day, and your fertile days are days 19, 20, and 21.
- Regardless of how long your cycle is, most women ovulate 10 to 16 days before the start of their next menstrual cycle.
- You can become pregnant if you have intercourse five days before ovulation and one day after ovulation.
- If there is live sperm in the fallopian tubes during ovulation, you are much more likely to become pregnant.
You can use fertility awareness as a natural birth control method. This means that if you have a period that lasts between 26 and 32 days, the days 8 through 19 will be the most fertile days. This method, however, works best if you have regular menstrual cycles. There is a one to five percent chance of getting pregnant.
Though the fertile window is when you have the best chance of becoming pregnant, you can become pregnant outside of it. Not every womans cycle is the same number of days and neither is their window.
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No Period For Three Months: Is This Normal
Not having your period for three months or more is known as secondary amenorrhea. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Natural causes of an absence of menstruation for three months include perimenopause, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Certain lifestyle factors like stress and excessive exercise may also cause it. Furthermore, having either excessive or low body fat can also cause a missed period. Tumors on the pituitary gland or a hypoactive/hyperactive thyroid gland can also lead to hormonal imbalances and trigger secondary amenorrhea. Low levels of estrogen or high levels of testosterone can also result in a missed period.
Genetic disorders such as Swyer syndrome and Turner syndrome result in a lack of menstruation without proper hormone replacement therapy. Some people experience a missed period because of medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or chemotherapy drugs. You could also notice no period for three months or more if you have just stopped taking birth control pills.
Physical issues like problems in your reproductive organs could also cause delayed or missed periods.
How Soon Can I Take A Pregnancy Test
Pregnancy tests work by detecting a certain level of human chorionic gonadotrophin in your pee. You can take a pregnancy test as soon as youve missed your period. However, its best to wait at least one week after youve missed your period to get the most accurate results. While some tests claim to give you accurate results before a missed period, taking a test too soon can result in a false negative .
Your healthcare provider can take a blood sample to test for pregnancy as early as one week before a missed period.
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What Are Irregular Periods
Even though girls get their periods on a cycle, that cycle can take different amounts of time each month. For example, a girl might get her period after 24 days one month and after 42 days the next. These are called irregular periods.
Irregular periods are very common, especially in a girl’s first few years of getting her period.
A Missed Period Could Mean Youre Pregnant But There Might Be Another Cause
Pregnancy is by far the most common cause of a missed period. However, other medical and lifestyle factors can also affect your menstrual cycle making your period late.
Weight changes, hormonal irregularities, and menopause are among the most common causes if youre not pregnant. With these issues, 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.
A normal menstrual cycle is about 28 days. However, a normal cycle could be up to 40 days. If your cycle is longer than this, or longer than usual for you, its considered late.
This article explores 10 common reasons your period may be delayed.
Verywell / Cindy Chung
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A Change In Your Schedule
Changing schedules can throw off your body clock. If you frequently change work shifts from days to nights, or if your schedule is generally all over the place, your period can be fairly unpredictable.
A change in your schedule shouldn’t cause you to completely miss your period, but it can cause your period to start earlier or later than expected. Your cycle can also change by a few days if you experience jet lag.