There are myriads of reasons your period can be late and it’s quite easy to jump to conclusions when you realise your period is late. Most people automatically think of pregnancy when this arises but it could be that or one of many other possibilities.
Here’s a rundown of the common reasons for a missed period.
1. Change in Schedule/ Stress
Anything that makes you stressed can cause ovulation to be delayed. If you start a new job, travel, or even change your wake up time, it may take your body a little while to adjust to the change. If the change in routine took place around when you would have ovulated, it may stop ovulation or push your ovulation date back. If this happens, your period will be delayed or you might even skip a cycle. Furthermore, worrying can cause your period to be a day or two late.
2. Excessive Exercising
Endurance athletes and women who exercise extensively sometimes stop having a period, even if they are at a healthy body weight. A demanding exercise program puts a lot of stress on a woman’s body. When this happens, her body may cease menstruation as a way to conserve energy. Also, women who exercise a lot tend to have extremely low body fat. Without body fat, a woman’s body cannot produce enough oestrogen to ovulate.
3. Birth Control
Most hormonal birth control contain synthetic versions of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. By altering your hormone levels, birth control stops ovulation, changes the quality of your cervical mucus, and thins your uterine lining which makes implantation difficult. After you have taken birth control for a while , your lining becomes thinner, your period may become lighter or you may stop having a period altogether. Some birth control methods will keep you from having a period or will reduce the frequency of your menstrual cycles. Moreover, during the first few cycles on birth control, your menstrual cycle may take a while to adjust and this may cause your period to be delayed.
4. Premature Menopause
Every woman is born with about 1 to 3 million eggs. Every time she ovulates, she releases one of these eggs. She also loses some of her eggs as she ages. Some of them die. Others get old and are no longer quality eggs. When she no longer has any quality eggs, she stops ovulating and in turn, stops having a period. For most women, this happens sometime around the age of 45. Sometimes, this will happen earlier than expected. When a woman stops having a period before 40, it is called premature menopause.
5. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a disorder that is caused by having excessive male hormones. All women produce some male hormones (or androgens) but women with PCOS produce higher levels of androgen. This can cause the ovaries to malfunction and keep them from ovulating. Normally, during ovulation, a woman will produce several follicles, but one will become the dominant follicle that is released during ovulation. Women with PCOS instead produce many small follicles but because of the extra androgen, do not fully mature. Therefore because she is not able to ovulate, her cycles may become irregular.
6. Thyroid Disorders
It is fairly common for women with thyroid disorders to have issues with ovulation and irregular menstrual cycles. Doctors aren’t clear on why the thyroid causes problems with the menstrual cycle. Sometimes, women with thyroid disorders don’t ovulate or if they do, they may have a weaker ovulation and shorter luteal phase. Anything that interferes with normal ovulation can cause your period to be late or become irregular.
Like stress, illness can also make your period late. If you are ill around the time you would have ovulated, this may keep you from ovulating or temporarily delay ovulation. If ovulation is late, your period will be late as well. So if your period is late, think back to how you were feeling a couple of weeks back. If you were sick, this could very well explain why your period hasn’t shown up.
8. Eating Disorders
Having an eating disorder or being underweight/overweight can disrupt your menstrual cycles or cause them to stop altogether. It was once thought that anorexia nervosa was the only eating disorder that caused menstrual irregularities, but newer studies have found that any eating disorder can cause problems with menstruation. When a woman doesn’t have enough body fat,her body has a hard time making the necessary estrogen to support ovulation. If you aren’t ovulating, you won’t have a period or your periods will become irregular.
Written by Chukwunwike Victoria for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng