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Every Possible Reason Why Your Period is Late

Heather Silvers

Have you ever caught yourself fretting about why your period is late? Before you head to the local pharmacy to pick up a home pregnancy test, it’s best to consider other reasons why your monthly cycle could be off. Not every late period means you’re pregnant. Irregular cycles are more common than you think. University of California Professor of Obstetrics-Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Dr. Amy Autry discussed how at least 30% of women have irregular periods during their childbearing years. Another report published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism cites that many women experience occasional period irregularities throughout their reproductive years. While many women may experience late periods, the factors causing it can greatly vary. Below, we’ll take a look at the reasons why your period could be late.

Increased levels of stress

Stressful times in your life can cause irregular periods. While the exact reason for it is still unclear, Bustle connects it with the hypothalamus, a small but vital section of the brain. When we’re stressed the functioning of the hypothalamus becomes affected, which consequently affects the pituitary gland responsible for the thyroid, ovaries and adrenal glands. These organs control the production of hormones. Without which ovulation cannot occur. When ovulation is disrupted, it affects the regularity of the menstrual cycle.

Being underweight

Being underweight can affect how regular your period is because of the hormone estrogen. Weighing 10% below what’s considered as your normal body weight could change the way your body functions, halting ovulation because of the lack of estrogen. Consequently, people with eating disorders often experience missed periods. 

Being overweight

On the other hand, being overweight can also cause hormonal changes. When you are overweight, the body creates excess estrogen which can also cause you to stop ovulating. When obese women do have their periods, they're often very heavy, and last for a long time.

Too much exercise

While exercise is good for you, exercising too much can cause amenorrhea or the absence of periods. Similar to being underweight, too much exercise can lead to less estrogen in the body. Too little estrogen can result in a delayed period. Furthermore, the absence of estrogen in people who overtrain could result in weak bones. This may lead to fractures, osteoporosis, and problems with posture.

Having a chronic disease

Healthline notes that conditions such as diabetes and celiac disease can also affect your menstrual cycle. Changes in blood sugar could result in hormonal changes. Not controlling diabetes properly could cause your period to become irregular. On the other hand, celiac disease impairs your body’s function to absorb nutrients due to damage in the small intestine. The lack of nutrients for hormone production can cause late or missed menstruation.

Understanding your menstrual cycles

If you are concerned about a delayed period then it is best to consult with a medical professional. For some women though, consulting a doctor or nurse about their period can be uncomfortable and leads them to worry about whether or not to seek advice or help. The good news is that the healthcare industry is expanding in how its specialists visit those in need, as Maryville University explains that nurses now see patients in a variety of locations, including their homes and private offices. This allows women to get the advice they need without a visit to a hospital or clinic. Understanding the different factors that affect your period will help you understand and monitor your own menstrual cycle more effectively. Just one check-up could save you the hassle of worrying about every late period. 

Many of the factors that affect late periods are things that can be fixed through lifestyle changes and being more aware of our bodies. If you’re looking to understand your cycle better, it helps to keep a record of your monthly periods so you can track them with more accuracy. 



By Heather Silvers

Written exclusively for

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