Whether you want to conceive a baby or not, pregnancy is the first things that comes to our mind when we’re having a late period. However, there are many other reasons that can affect your menstrual cycle. Here are some of the most frequent ones:
It’s only natural for stress to be at the top of the list, because there are very few people in the world that don’t have to deal with it. Stress is a cause for many illnesses and health problems from weakening the immune system and causing sleep disorders to delaying our period. There is a scientific explanation. When we’re extremely stressed, the GnRH hormone levels decrease in the body, this being a direct cause of delaying ovulation. There is a possibility stress can make you miss that period altogether.
2. A change in schedule
Our metabolism and other bodily functions, menstrual cycle included are greatly affected by our habits. When we make a dramatic change to our schedule, such as going to work during the night, instead of day (or the other way around) or working in shifts it can cause late and even missed periods.
Even a less serious illness such as the common cold can lead to a late period. For acute illnesses, the problem is usually temporary. However, a long-term illness can have a more dramatic effect on your menstrual cycle, causing missed periods or even temporarily stopping the menstrual cycle (amenorrhea).
4. Being underweight
Most people worry about extra pounds but you’re at the opposite corner? Well, that’s not good either. Being underweight means you have a very low percentage of body fat, thus a lowered production of estrogen which can make your periods irregular and even stop them. Professional athletes and women who work out to extremes frequently have this problem.
5. Being overweight
The extra weight doesn’t just stress your skeleton it also affects your hormones, changing your menstrual cycle and even stopping your periods. Fat cells produce estrogen, and when it goes beyond a certain level your body may lose the ability to recognize the spike that would normally cause ovulation.
The problem usually disappears in women who lose some weight, even if they’re still overweight.
6. The numbers don’t add up
Some women have a non-established cycle. Even though it doesn’t skip a month it doesn’t come on a fixed date either. In this case, using a calendar will tell you with approximation when you might be having your period. Or you just made a mistake when you marked the date of your last period on the calendar.
7. Perimenopause and Menopause
Menopause is obviously a very good reason for a late period. It’s that point in life when a woman supposedly did her job for perpetuating the species and she stops ovulating and menstruating. But what if you’re too young for menopause?
There’s also perimenopause, also known as menopause transition years, which can last anywhere between 4 and 8 years. During this transition, periods can become irregular with lighter or heavier flow of blood.
Professional athletes and women who strenuously exercise 2 or more hours every day can experience exercise-induced amenorrhea. Recent research shows a new possible cause for amenorrhoeic athletes: too little energy is left available for the menstrual cycle when the intake of calories is insufficient for other bodily functions besides the ones used for physical effort. Apparently, this is a problem also encountered in women who diet.
9. Menstrual Synchrony
You know the myth saying that when more women spend time together they will get their periods almost at the same time? Well, it’s not a myth. It may of course cause a late period, because your menstrual cycle is simply trying to sync with the ones of women around you.
Unless you’ve had no intercourse recently, pregnancy is still on the list. It doesn’t matter if you used birth control or not, as long as you’ve had intercourse there is a chance pregnancy is the cause of your late period. A pregnancy test is a sure and easy way to find out the truth (re-testing after a few days is usually advised to ensure of the result’s accuracy).