At one point or another in every woman’s life, her period will probably be late. Some women simply have unpredictable cycles and are used to this. Others may get their period like clockwork, and therefore start to panic when their expected time of this month comes and goes and nothing happens.
Although it is often the first assumption (or fear), a late period doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant. There are plenty of reasons your period could be delayed that are no cause for concern just yet.
Perhaps the most common cause of a late period, other than pregnancy, is high levels of stress. When you’re overly stressed, the production of estrogen and progesterone in your hypothalamus can be affected and throw off your entire reproductive hormone balance. This may cause delayed, irregular, or abnormally heavy periods.
2) Birth Control
Certain birth control methods, such as an IUD, birth control shot, or low-estrogen pill, will decrease the frequency of your period or sometimes even eliminate it altogether. In fact, this is one of the reasons many women choose these contraceptive methods in the first place. Also, if you missed a pill or recently stopped or switched birth controls, your hormone levels may need some time to readjust.
3) Weight Changes
Extreme fluctuations in weight—sudden and significant loss or gain—can affect your hormonal balance and delay your period. If you lose a lot of weight quickly, your estrogen levels could drop suddenly and throw off your cycle. Similarly, if you gain an excessive amount of weight in a short time, the hypothalamus may produce an excessive amount of estrogen in response, also interfering with your normal cycle.
4) Underlying Health Conditions
Sometimes, a late period may be a symptom of an underlying health issue that is somehow impacting your hormone production or menstrual cycle. Reproductive conditions like PCOS or endometriosis can be to blame. Or, it can be an entirely different bodily system that’s experiencing a problem, such as diabetes, liver dysfunction, or thyroid disease. Even acute illnesses like the common cold, flu, or meningitis can make your period late. If you’re experiencing other symptoms with your late period, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
While a late period doesn’t always indicate a problem, an appointment with a women’s healthcare specialist can help ease your mind if you can’t seem to stop worrying. At South Avenue Women’s Services, our medical professionals will help you figure out why your period is delayed and what steps to take to regulate it—or provide options in the event of an unplanned pregnancy.
Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and make your first appointment!