If you’ve recently missed a period, you may suspect that you are pregnant. However, there several reasons that a woman may experience a missed or late period. Some are not worth being concerned over, but others can be dangerous to your health. Consider the following 8 reasons for a missed period and learn when it might warrant a call to your doctor.
Pregnancy is, by far, the most common reason for a missed period. It is also one of the easier conditions to confirm. Most women have other pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea or changes in their breasts. Some women are the exception, however, meaning they may not experience any other pregnancy symptoms and their hCG levels may still be too low to register on a pregnancy test. If you suspect that pregnancy is responsible for your missed period but are not experiencing other symptoms or are not registering on a store-bought pregnancy test, contact your doctor.
2. Ectopic Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancies cause a missed period for the same reasons as viable pregnancies – an egg has been fertilized. It just did not implant in the right place, which can be extremely dangerous, especially if it ruptures. If you have tested positive or negative on an at-home pregnancy test, have missed a period, and are experiencing severe pain in your lower abdomen (the pelvic region), dizziness, bleeding or spotting, or nausea and vomiting (more extreme than morning sickness), seek immediate medical attention.
Stress can do strange things to your body – it can even alter your cycle, which may cause you to experience a missed or late period. So, if you notice no other major symptoms, have recently missed a period, and have recently gone through an immensely stressful situation, stress could be the reason. If you miss a second cycle, however, call your doctor for an appointment.
If you are currently breastfeeding and your periods only recently returned, you may notice that it is not always consistent. Much of this is due to hormone fluctuations, which are common when baby’s appetite changes or when they go through a growth spurt. Unless you have other symptoms, a missed period in this situation is rarely an issue of concern.
5. Health Conditions
Several health conditions can cause a missed or delayed period. Examples include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid issues, iron deficiency, and premature perimenopause. If you have not had a period for at least 90 days and are still registering as negative on at-home pregnancy tests, it could be time to make an appointment with your doctor to determine if an underlying medical condition could be causing them.
6. New Medications
Some medications can disrupt or alter your menstrual cycle. Birth control, certain blood pressure medications, and allergy medicines are among the biggest offenders. If you have started any of them recently, they could be responsible for the delay of your latest period.
7. Changes in Diet or Exercise
Sudden changes in your diet or exercise levels can alter hormone production and that can ultimately have an impact on your monthly cycle. It may cause you to experience a late period, or you may skip one altogether. You might also experience spotting between periods if you are suffering from malnutrition if you have drastically decreased your calorie intake. Try taking a step back from your exercise routine or increase your calories. It could remedy the issue, but if it doesn’t, you may need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to ensure you are not suffering from an underlying health condition.
8. Other Major Lifestyle Changes
Changes in diet, exercise, stress levels, and medications are not the only major lifestyle changes that may affect your cycle. Moving to an overnight shift, taking on extra work, or other major changes to your daily routine can affect your cycle as well. Thankfully, your body should go back to normal. If it doesn’t, contact your doctor for an appointment.