Waiting and Uncertainty: 7 reasons for a missed period

Are you worried and on edge because your period is late? Worry no more because, at the end of this read, you will find the salve to soothe your period woes.

Words:NicoleImages:PexelsJune 02, 2021

Missed periods are a women’s worst nightmare! But contrary to your fears, menstrual inconsistencies are almost always a normal occurrence. Hormonal fluctuations and imbalance can disrupt your period’s timeframe during puberty/adolescence, breastfeeding, and menopause. Period irregularities are more common at menopause and when the period commences at the cusp of puberty and adolescence.  The transition to puberty and menopause causes the body to experience some hormonal changes that affect period consistency.

A woman’s menstrual cycle is considered healthy and normal at 21-35 days. Women who are nowhere near menopause typically experience a 28-day menstrual cycle. So what happens if your menstrual cycle is short of the prescribed days and you are neither a teenager who just began seeing her period nor a menopausal woman?  Plus, you are certain you are not pregnant. So what could be the problem?

When Missed Periods are a Cause for Concern

Admittedly, missed periods cause concern when menopause, adolescence, and pregnancy are not the causative factors. However, your period may act up and play peek-a-boo with you for one of the following reasons.

Seven reasons for a missed period

1. Stress

We know for a fact that stress is (often) the number one culprit for a missed period. So if your period is late, there is a good chance that you are stressed. This is because stress can jeopardize your hormones and hypothalamus (a part of the brain that plays a key role in period regulation) and affect the normal functioning of your body system. Stress is that bothersome!  And when your body bears the negative burden of stress for a long time, you can fall ill and gain or lose weight ─ leading to disruptions in your menstrual cycle.

You can combat stress-induced missed periods by treating the root problem, which is the stress itself. You can reduce stress levels through regular exercise, relaxation techniques, and adopting a healthy diet. There are a few articles on Voice of Wolva about how to achieve more balance for your own life and especially how to achieve a good work-life-balance.

If you suffer from chronic stress, you might want to see a doctor or therapist. No shame on that!

2. Excessive weight Loss

Sudden weight loss can result in a less than ideal body weight, which can make your period late. When your body is calorie-deprived, it may hinder the production of hormones that stimulate and activate ovulation. If you are underweight, it means your Body Mass Index (BMI) is less than 18.5.  A proper diagnosis from your doctor may or may not link your missed periods to your weight, but if your weight is the primary cause of your ovulation and menstrual problems, you may need to consult a dietician. A dietician will help you draw a diet plan that will restore all the calories you lost and some more.

Eating disorders like Anorexia can also cause sudden and excessive weight loss. Anorexia means you and food don’t see eye to eye ─ you find it easier to walk 100 miles than swallow a morsel of food. The thing is, your poor eating habits may be doing a number on your ovulation-inducing/ period hormones. What to do? We advise you to see your GP as soon as you can, so they can refer you to an eating disorder specialist.

Of course we also have help for you directly. Read all about why your diet can influence your period or download the free Wolva Period Recipe Book.

3. Obesity

Obesity is another weight disorder that causes delayed or missed periods. When your body‘s weight is stretched to capacity, it is forced to produce excess estrogen ─ a hormone involved in the regulation of the female reproductive system.  If you are overweight, your doctor may craft a feasible exercise regime and diet for you to get your weight back on track. Keeping your weight in check may be the cue your period needs to act right!

4. Birth Control / Contraceptive Pills

Yes, those unassuming pills may be keeping your period at bay. Contraceptive pills are packed with estrogen and progestin, two agents that disrupt the normal functioning of the ovaries. As a result, they keep your ovaries from releasing eggs. And because eggs are a key element of the menstrual cycle, your period will suffer consequences and become missing in action. That said, it isn’t unusual for your period to go missing when you start or stop birth control pills.

5. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome ( PCOS)

PCOS is a reproductive condition that interferes with the ovulation process, causing period irregularities or halting ovulation completely. With PCOS, your body produces excess androgen ( a male hormone), leading to ovarian cyst formation and hormonal imbalance. As a result, PCOS is another popular cause of missed periods. If you have PCOS, your doctor may prescribe certain medications that regulate the menstrual cycle.

6. Certain Diseases

Certain chronic diseases and conditions like Diabetes, celiac disease, and thyroid issues can also make your period late. Diabetes influences change in blood sugar levels, which can birth hormonal imbalance. While rare, poorly managed diabetes and blood sugar levels may be the reason why your period is late.

On the other hand, celiac disease triggers inflammation that impedes the proper functioning of the small intestine. As a result, your body’s ability to digest and utilize nutrients is hindered ─ leading to delayed and missed periods.

A missed period can also be linked to an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. Since the thyroid gland regulates the body’s hormones, a deficiency in its function can affect your period hormones, causing menstrual inconsistencies. All three conditions are often treated with medication.

7. Extreme Exercise

We know you love to test your limit when it comes to exercise, but you may be doing more harm than good to your reproductive hormones. In addition to throwing your hormones off balance, extreme physical activity can also trigger excessive fat burn/weight loss ─ leading to poor ovulation function. As such, it is in you and your period’s best interest to tone down the intensity of your exercise.

Professional athletes who cannot avoid extreme physical activities should consult a sports medicine professional. These trained specialists will help you maintain a healthy reproductive system at no cost to your career. So seek a sports medicine specialist and keep your period in check.

A missed period could be a symptom or not

A missed period may or may not be normal. Menopause, early menstruation, pregnancy, and breastfeeding are instances when late and missed periods are considered normal. Outside these conditions, missed periods may be related to other causes such as stress, weight issues, certain diseases, contraceptive pills, and PCOS.

The good news is, you can address these issues and get your period back on track.

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Nicole

About Nicole

Until the age of 29, Nicole was on hormonal birth control. While she was backpacking, she got inspired by different women to think about her cycle. She started an intense journey into herself that made her become a yoga teacher in India. Today Nicole lives in Berlin as natural as possible. She writes for sustainable brands and about topics she loves, whilst teaching yoga to help other humans and herself to find inner balance.

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