If you are pregnant, there’s nothing to worry about. But if your periods are late and you know you are not pregnant; how do you find out why is your periods late? Missed or even late periods are due to different reasons. Causes can range from severe medical conditions to hormonal problems.
However, there are two possible reasons which are perfectly healthy for an irregular menstrual period; one is when the period begins and one, when menopause commences. As the body goes through different hormonal changes, there could be an irregularity in the normal cycle.
Most pre-menopausal women experience a period every 28 days. A healthy menstrual cycle is from 21 to 35 days. But in case it does not, here are ten possible reasons why your periods are late.
10 Possible Reasons Why Periods Are Late
Stress can throw the hormones off balance, causing transitions in the everyday routine and impacting the brain area responsible for regulating the periods. This brain area, called the hypothalamus, can be affected by stress over time.
Stress can also trigger illness, weight gain or loss or all of these, impacting the frequency and regularity of your menstrual cycle(1). If stress may be throwing off the period, it is essential to practice techniques and lifestyle changes to relax.
Adding additional exercise to the workout regimen could also help in getting back on track. Prolonged stress impacts the menstrual cycle, lengthening, or shortening it. This stress can even cause missing periods. Women also get cramps when experiencing stressors.
Averting situations that exacerbate stress, adopting a regular exercise regimen, and opting for adequate sleep is the key to eliminate stress and maintain a monthly menstruation cycle. For women experiencing chronic stress, it may work to consult a doctor or counselor for identifying effective mechanisms for coping.
[Read: Natural Remedies for Stress]
2. Low Weight
Women who are anorexic or bulimic face eating disorders. They may experience a delay in periods. Weighing even ten percent below the normal range for your height stops ovulation.
It changes the way the body functions. Getting treated for eating issues may help your cycle to return to normal. So, if you’ve been opting for a punishing diet, it’s time to pull back!
3. Weight Loss
Excessive exercise or considerable weight loss can also be the reason for missing periods. Underweight or low body-fat ratios can change hormonal and reproductive system functioning. The hormones responsible for reproduction can lower to levels where menstruation and ovulation do not take place.
[Also Read: Weight Gain During Periods ]
Women who lose massive weight that delays menstruation should consult their doctor about nourishing the body with enough vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Additional weight loss is even likelier to cause late periods, as against obesity, in conjunction with conditions like PCOS. A BMI under 20 creates brain starvation and causes lean female athletes to miss their periods.
Severe weight loss or anorexia shuts down the follicular stimulating and luteinizing hormone production in the hypothalamus, which regulates the ovaries. PCOS patients are sensitive to scales, as well. A 10 percent weight loss can set the periods back. Weight gain can also trigger missed or late periods.
[Read: Why Do Women Have Periods]
Much like low body weight, massive weight gain, or being overweight/obese causes late periods. Your doctor may have to recommend a weight-loss program involving diet and exercise if being overweight is delaying or stopping your menstrual periods.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome refers to a condition where the body generates excess androgen. Androgen is a male hormone. Tumors form on the ovary as a consequence of the hormonal imbalance. This imbalance causes ovulation to become irregular or cease. Insulin can also create a problem due to insulin resistance linked to PCOS. PCOS treatment is essential to regulate the cycle.
Here’s how it works. During menstruation, ovaries develop five follicles, and each competes to become a dominant one for maturing into an egg during ovulation. PCOS patients have new follicles, whereby the process lengthens, delaying menstruation.
More PCOS symptoms range from weight gain to increased hormonal production of androgen.
6. Birth Control
When women go off or on birth control, cycles can change. The reason is that birth control pills contain hormones, progestin, and estrogen. This change in cycles prevents eggs from release. After stopping the medicine, it can take six months for cycles to regain their consistency. Other contraceptive devices implanted or injected delay periods. Hormonal methods can cause women to miss the period.
Mostly, hormone birth control provides an estrogen form that blends with progesterone for some time, followed by no-hormone days. Withdrawing the hormones triggers the period. Hormones also thin the uterine lining, so there is a delay in menstruation. Birth control includes shots, rings, implants, patches, and pills.
Women should also speak to the doctor regarding concerns about birth control. Extended cycle birth control pills can be a culprit because they delay the duration between menstrual periods. Other hormonal contraceptives like IUDs and Depo Provera also delay periods.
[Also Read: Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women]
7. Chronic Diseases
Conditions such as celiac disease and diabetes impact the menstrual cycle, as well. Blood-sugar changes are linked to hormonal levels, so rare, poorly controlled diabetes can induce irregular periods. Celiac disease causes small intestine inflammation, poor absorption of nutrients, and late periods.
Other issues, such as thyroid disease and diabetes, are linked to delayed periods. Occasionally, women do not ovulate, and this leads to early or delayed menstruation. Based on history, the cause needs to be determined.
Hypo or hyperthyroidism can trigger late periods. The thyroid regulates the metabolic rate of the body, impacting hormonal levels. Thyroid problems can be cured using medicines. Post the treatment; the periods return to normal.
[Also Read: Home Remedies for Treating Thyroid]
8. Pituitary Tumor
While this is unlikely or rare, pituitary tumors like prolactinoma can also be blamed for late periods. This tumor leads to excess prolactin. Prolactin is the breast milk production hormone. If women experience discharge from the breast while not nursing, besides blurred vision, headache, and delayed menstruation, it could mean they have this tumor.
Most women aged 45 to 55 develop menopause. Women experience symptoms around age 40, sometimes. This condition is called perimenopause(2). It means egg supply is slowing, and the end of menstruation is nearing.
The average onset of menopause is around 52, when women lack periods for 12 months. Most women experience symptoms as quickly as 10 to 15 years before menopause. This perimenopause signals estrogen level fluctuations. Irregular hormones alter menstrual cycles and delay the menses.
Don’t rule out pregnancy, if your periods are late. Remember that you can get pregnant despite contraception, and birth control must be used in the right way. Home pregnancy tests can reveal if you are indeed pregnant and in need of prenatal care.
What is Normal & What is Not?
While some of the reasons for late periods are normal, others are not. In the event of medical conditions or tumors, immediate medical care is vital. Even if you experience symptoms like excessive bleeding, puking, and nausea, severe pain, fever, or bleeding beyond seven days, be sure to contact the doctor immediately. Even if bleeding starts during menopause, this is a cause for concern.
Late periods can occur due to numerous reasons. You need to observe your body to see which of these is responsible for your delayed periods. Tumors, diseases, low or high weight, weight gain, or weight loss – the reasons for such conditions are many. So, be sure to consult a certified healthcare practitioner or doctor and be clear about how to tackle missed or late periods.