When a woman reaches menarche and gets close to menopause, she may have two instances in her life where her periods are abnormally late. These are medically normal. Soon later, her body goes through a number of transitional changes and she starts to menstruate. Although menstrual periods typically last 28 days, a healthy range is thought to be 21 to 34 days. Therefore, anything longer than the 35-day window causes most women to worry, mostly thinking that they are pregnant. Other than pregnancy, there are several reasons why a period could be late or absent. You’ll find out those reasons by the time you have finished reading this post. In this post, we’ll tell you about the 10 possible causes of late periods.
So if you’re sure you’re not pregnant and wondering why you missed or had a late period, any of the following could be the reason.
Perimenopause is the period of time during which the body prepares for menopause. It is also associated with the cessation of menstruation. This period occurs commonly in women between the ages of 40 and 55. Although, younger women may also experience perimenopausal symptoms and have few late periods or no periods at all throughout the year. Hence if you are within this age range specifically or maybe younger, this may be a cause of your late periods.
Taking drugs like aspirin, coumadin, and ibuprofen may be one of the frequent causes of late periods. Your periods may also cease if you use some birth control methods like an intrauterine device, implants like Nexplanon, or Depo- Provera injections.
Also, emergency contraceptives like the “morning-after pill” potentially have an effect on ovulation, causing it to cease. Other drugs that can cause you to have late or missed periods include certain antipsychotics, corticosteroids, antidepressants, and chemotherapy treatments.
8. Hormonal conditions – PCOS
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition characterized by multiple cysts in the ovaries resulting in hormonal dysfunction. It is prevalent among women of childbearing age worldwide and is one of the causes of late or irregular periods. Associated with this, could be obesity, a male – pattern of baldness, and excessive facial and body hair.
In addition, a complete absence of periods during reproductive years may result in endometrial cancer if not addressed properly.
7. Thyroid dysfunction
If you are experiencing late periods, it could be as a result of an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, as too much or too little thyroid hormones in circulation in the blood would affect your periods. Also, some women with thyroid dysfunction may complain of very light or heavy menstrual flows. Some others may as well notice a swelling on the neck but this is not present in all cases. If you consult a doctor, he or she can establish if you have a thyroid disease by requesting blood tests. These tests, measure the level of thyroid hormones in your blood.
6. Weight changes
Drastic changes in weight resulting in obesity or being underweight have been identified as one of the causes of late periods. When you are obese, your body produces an excess of a hormone called estrogen, a very important reproductive hormone. Hence your cycle may become irregular if there is too much estrogen in circulation.
On the other hand, significantly underweight people may experience irregular periods as a result of too little of this hormone in circulation. Their periods may be late or absent. Naturally, women with obesity will benefit from losing some weight. While those that are underweight will benefit from a high-calorie intake to gain weight, combined maybe with some fitness exercises.
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As a nursing mother, it might take a period of three to six months after delivery to resume your period. This is due to the fact that Prolactin, the hormone that causes your breasts to produce milk also inhibits ovulation. It does this by lowering the levels of hormones required for that to take place. Hence, you do not see a menstrual flow during this period and this is no cause for alarm.
4. Chronic illnesses
People with inflammatory disorders, diabetes, celiac disease, and other types of gastrointestinal diseases may experience late or missed periods. This is because these illnesses often require long-term management, which means the body is stressed for a long period. This prolonged period of stress may affect the menstrual cycle due to the effect of certain stress hormones.
3. A change in your schedule
Every human has an internal body clock, which controls our hormones. It has been shown that this clock can be affected by a change in your work schedule. It shows that any interference with your circadian rhythm could affect your reproductive hormones which in turn affect your menstrual cycle. So, if you’re traveling out of the country and you have jet lag, your cycle may shift by a few days. If you started to work the night shift, different from what you used to, you could experience late periods.
2. Too much exercise
Of course, exercising in the right amounts is very beneficial. But, consistent exhausting physical activities and rigorous training can lead to a hormonal imbalance and interfere with your cycle.
Now, we might actually not know when we are going too far with our exercises but there are some telltale signs that have been highlighted here: have you noticed any extreme or rapid weight loss, diminished physical performance, and in spite of an illness, do you still exercise as though you are being compelled to? If your answer is yes to any of these, then you should try to cut down on your exercises to prevent more severe manifestations of a hormonal imbalance such as a complete cessation of your periods.
We all undergo stress in one form or the other every day of our lives. So it’s not surprising it tops the list as the most common cause of late periods. Studies have shown that long-term stress from any source can greatly affect the menstrual cycle either by lengthening or shortening it and even as far as causing a missed period.
Although it is a fact that stress cannot be completely removed from our lives, we can reduce the amount of stress we are exposed to. This can be done by finding out first what stresses us the most, exercising frequently in good amounts, taking in enough calories, and getting proper rest. If we can do this, then we can enjoy our feminity with no worries.
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