There are several possible reasons for a missed period. Pregnancy is by far the most common cause of a missed period, but there are some other medical reasons and lifestyle factors that impact 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 amenorrhoea, which is a lack of menstruation for three or more months in a row.
Here are ten common reasons your period may be delayed:
1. Stress: Profound stress alters the production of a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH), interfering with ovulation and regular menstruation.
2. Extreme exercise: Extreme exercise can cause alterations in pituitary and thyroid hormones, resulting in changes in ovulation and menstruation. Don’t worry about exercise causing you to miss your cycle if you work out for one or two hours per day.
3. Illness: Chronic conditions that can affect your menstrual cycle include thyroid disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), pituitary tumours, diseases of the adrenal gland, ovarian cysts, liver dysfunction, and diabetes.
4. A change in your schedule: Changing schedules (for example, if you frequently change work shifts, going from days to nights) can throw off your body clock. Generally, changes in schedule shouldn’t cause you to completely miss your period, but they can cause it to start earlier or later than expected.
5. Medications: Some medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, thyroid medications, anticonvulsants, and some chemotherapy medications, may cause your period to be absent or delayed. Hormonal contraceptives like Depo-Provera, progestin-only minipills, and Mirena IUDs may also have this effect.
6. Weight changes: Being overweight, underweight, or experiencing drastic changes in weight all impact your cycle.
7. Having recently started having periods
9. Ectopic pregnancy
When to see the doctor
Missing a period or two, even when you suspect that you know the reason, is something that needs to be investigated by your doctor.
You should see your doctor urgently if you experience any of the following:
- New or worsening headaches
- Vision changes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Hair loss
- Breast secretions or milk production
- Excess hair growth
Frequently asked questions and answers about missed periods.
Q. Is it normal to skip a period for three months?
A. Absent menstruation, or amenorrhoea, is the absence of menstrual bleeding. It is diagnosed when a woman fails to menstruate for three to six months. Amenorrhoea can happen for many reasons. The most common cause is pregnancy.
Q. What can make you miss your periods?
A. There are a number of possible reasons for a missed period. Pregnancy is by far the most common, but there are some other medical reasons and lifestyle factors that impact your menstrual cycle. Extreme weight loss, hormonal irregularities, and menopause are among the most common causes if you’re not pregnant.
Q. What are the side effects of not having your periods?
A. Depending on the cause of amenorrhoea, you might experience other signs or symptoms along with the absence of periods, such as:
Milky nipple discharge, hair loss, headache, vision changes, excess facial hair, pelvic pain, and acne.
Q. Does skipping periods affect fertility?
A. Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for 30% to 40% of all cases of infertility. Having irregular periods, no periods, or abnormal bleeding often indicates that you aren’t ovulating, a condition known clinically as anovulation.
Q. What happens to eggs when you don’t ovulate?
A. When ovulation doesn’t occur, progesterone is not produced. Instead, your ovaries continue to produce oestradiol, the stimulating form of oestrogen that feeds growths such as those associated with endometriosis. But even if you are not trying to conceive, it still benefits your body to ovulate, especially if you have endometriosis. The endometrial growths are usually small and bursts when your body releases the egg during ovulation. If they don’t burst, they continue to grow.
Q. How can I check my fertility?
A. Specific fertility tests may include:
- Semen analysis: Your doctor may ask for one or more semen specimens.
- Hormone testing: You may have a blood test to determine your level of testosterone and other male hormones.
- Genetic testing