Why Is My Period Late?

My period late again, why? Could it be a sign of a problem? Can I still get a baby? These are some of the questions many women struggle with every day. Your ovaries usually release an egg on a monthly basis. Whenever the egg is not fertilized, your period will start due to the shedding of the lining of your uterus. If the ovaries are not releasing eggs as they should, then your period could delay as the uterus is not receiving the signals it needs. If you miss three periods in a row, you should seek out the help of a medical professional.

Why Is My Period Late?

1. You Might Be Pregnant

This is usually the first and probably the most obvious conclusion after missing your period. This could be true, especially because most of the signs of pregnancy are similar to those you experience prior to menstruation. If you have unprotected sex in the days leading up to your missed period, you should take a pregnancy test.

2. You're Sick

When you're sick, your body will switch off functions that it deems unimportant. Your reproductive cycle could be one of these functions. You may either miss your period or have it delayed until the sickness is under control. Something as simple as a cold can get your body into the "essential functions" mode.

3. You're Losing or Gaining Weight

Changes in your weight can affect the hypothalamus. This is a gland in the brain that is responsible for regulating bodily functions, including the menstrual cycle. If you lose a lot of weight suddenly, the body will stop producing estrogen which is needed to build the uterus lining. When you gain too much weight, the body produces excess estrogen which also affects the ovulation process.

4. You're Stressed-Out

If you’re asking "why is my period late" and you have been under a lot of stress lately, then you have your answer right there. When you are stressed out, your body produces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. When this happens, the body switches off all non-essential body functions until the event that is causing you stress is over.

5. You're Working Out Too Hard

Working out is definitely good for you. However, overdoing it can affect the production of estrogen in your body. You could lose a lot of weight in a short time, causing your body to produce an insufficient amount of estrogen. Signs that you might be working out too much include rapid weight loss, working out through injury and reduced physical performance. Slow down a bit and things will get back to normal.

6. There's a Sudden Change in Schedule

A sudden change in schedule can mess up with your body’s clock. This is a mechanism that the body uses to regulate hormones. Disruption of your schedule can cause delayed or missed periods. Examples of a sudden change in schedule include traveling across the country and changing shifts from day to night. Missing your period as a result of a change in schedule shouldn’t get you worried as your body will adjust itself.

7. You're Breastfeeding

Prolactin is the hormone responsible for the production of breast milk. This hormone also suppresses ovulation. You won’t have your period for a few months while breastfeeding. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant. It is possible for you to get pregnant since ovulation takes place before you ever see your period. It is, therefore, advisable to use protection if you do not want to have another baby.

8. You're on Medications

Why is my period late? It could simply be because you are on medication that interferes with your menstrual cycle. Birth control is one of the most common causes of missed periods. Some contraceptives work by stopping ovulation. While you may still bleed while using contraceptives, this is a "fake" period that is caused by a drop in hormone levels whenever you take the placebo pills in the pack or during your week off. If you stop using the contraceptive, give yourself time for the body to get back to normal. Other drugs that can affect your periods include corticosteroids, antipsychotics and chemotherapy.

9. You Have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or simply PCOS is a medical condition that causes an imbalance in the female sex hormones. It can cause cysts to develop on the ovaries, blocking ovulation from taking place. PCOS also causes excessive hair growth, weight gain, acne and infertility. Have your doctor do a blood test to confirm whether you are suffering from PCOS.

10. You Have Thyroid Irregularity

The thyroid is responsible for regulating metabolism in the body. Whenever you have a problem with the thyroid gland, you might experience changes in menstruation. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) usually causes your periods to become lighter and less frequent. Other symptoms of an overactive thyroid include rapid heart rate, trouble sleeping, increased sweating and weight loss. When your thyroid is underactive (hypothyroidism), you may experience heavier but less frequent periods.

11. You're Experiencing Early Menopause

On average, women get to menopause at the age of 51. Two to eight years prior to menopause, you might experience what is referred to as perimenopause. The body makes less estrogen than it used to as it moves towards menopause. You are likely to experience changes in your cycle. During this time, you might also experience night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings and sleep disturbance.

12. You Have Chronic Diseases

Why is my period late? It could be because of a chronic medical condition. Chronic diseases such as celiac and diabetes can affect your menstrual cycle. Changes in your blood sugar levels lead to changes in your hormones. If diabetes is not well managed, you can start missing periods. Celiac, on the other hand, can damage the small intestine, preventing your body from absorbing key nutrients. This can lead to missed periods. 

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