Ah yes, the infamous missed period. When you’re expecting your flow to arrive and it’s fashionably late, it’s natural to start feeling a bit nervous (or excited!) because you just might be pregnant. But before you let your lack of period scare you, take a quick breather, as a missed period doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a bun in the oven. There are a number of reasons why your period might not be as timely as you’re used to, so before you start picking out baby names and looking at cribs, check out the below eight reasons your period might be late.
The lower your body weight is, the more susceptible you are to missing a period. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if you’re one or two pounds under your standard body weight that your period won’t come. For women who suffer from eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia, it’s very likely that they’ll start experiencing missed periods due to having such a low body weight.
Good ol’ stress, always here doing wonders for our bodies. Stress can play a big role in inconsistent periods. A spike in stress can shake up your hormones, and that can end up affecting your cycle. Plus, stress messes with the hypothalamus, which is the part of your brain that regulates Aunt Flo’s visits. So, the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to miss out on a period.
There’s seemingly nothing a good work out can’t fix, but working out too much can actually cause your body to miss a period. This, however, is typically caused by excessive exercise — think all day, every day, going full-force in the gym. This happens because exercising affects thyroid and pituitary hormones that can ultimately lead to changes in your cycle. So don’t skip the gym just yet, but be careful to not over do it.
You know how menopause gets rid of your period completely? Well perimenopause (that transitional stage before menopause is in full swing) can result in period changes, among them being a less frequent period.
For all the new mothers out there, you might miss a few periods while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can result in skipped periods as the hormone that helps you create milk (prolactin) stops ovulation. But be warned, this doesn’t mean you’re not capable of getting pregnant again. Be sure to continue using a proper form of birth control to prevent any unplanned pregnancies, even while breastfeeding.
Although birth control can help regulate your cycle, it can also result in infrequent periods. When you first start birth control, you may experience a few skipped periods (or spotting) because your body is getting used to the new influx of hormones. So don’t fret if you miss a period when you first start taking birth control (pills, injections, and other forms).
A Medical Condition
Sometimes, a skipped period can mean more than the above. A missed period can be a sign that a woman has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), so be sure to consult your doctor if the skipped periods persist.
Finally, the obvious answer is that you might actually be pregnant. Not every missed period means you are, but it can’t hurt to double check. If your period is late or hasn’t showed up at all, try taking an at home pregnancy test or visit a doctor to discuss (or get excited about) any potential pregnancies.